The word "Peligrosa" is Spanish for daring, risky, or unsafe. When it comes to Latin music in Texas, the Peligrosa crew of Austin sits on the cutting edge of music, not content with just playing records straight from the crate, but rather remixing and combining every sound at their disposal to create their own vibe. At any Peligrosa event, cumbia is king, but there is also reggaeton, hip-hop, tribal, merengue, salsa, bachata, and moombahton. Its a movement that is bridging the classic Latin American and Caribbean sounds with modern beats and technology to create a forward thinking powerhouse of music.
This month, Peligrosa is celebrating it's 8-year anniversary, and has joined forces with Red Bull Music Academy to bring the Peligrosa 8th Anniversary Tour to Houston, Austin and Corpus Christi. We spoke to DJ Orion in anticipation of the kick-off to the tour, which happens here in Houston tonight at Fox Hollow.
Houston Press: Hola sir! Tell us a little about yourself and your history.
DJ Orion: My name is Orion Rafael Garcia Padilla Palacios Angel Franco DeLeon. My friends call me "O" for short. I am half Puerto Rican, half Colombian, born in Panama and raised in Germany. I'm the founder of the Peligrosa Crew out of Austin, Texas.
When and how did the idea for this Peligrosa Tour come about, and what is the purpose behind it?
This tour is about three months in the making. Our buddies at Red Bull came to us with a desire to help Peligrosa expand our network and express our ideas. They also wanted to do something down in Corpus with DJ Dus and in Houston with Gracie Chavez and Bombon, so we thought why not combine all of our resources and energy on a three city tour and do it real big. And its cool that they (Red Bull) share the same need to develop ideas and they really support our culture and music, instead of just trying to take over and put a (Red Bull) can in every photo. Plus with their resources, we were able to bring a variety of artists from across the hemisphere to jam with us here in Texas.
What motivates you to continue making music and putting on shows such as this one?
To be honest, I love the learning experience of it all and expanding my skill set. I began with music way back in the day, when I used to play trumpet and guitar in indie and metal bands, and later turned to rap and freestyle, and finally got on the turntables, the laptop, and sampler and started DJing and making beats. And even for this show I've dabbled in woodworking and other art projects for the tour. All in the name of having fun, living life, and puro party.
I spoke to Houston's DJ Gracie Chavez the other day, and she pointed out that the music Bombon and Peligrosa are creating is the continuation of the cumbia tradition that is prominent in Texas. Can you elaborate?
It's definitely a huge responsibility. In essence, we are the ambassadors for cumbia to the next generation. When you go to other parts of the country such as New York City, Los Angeles, or Miami, their Latin music experience is heavy with salsa or dembow. For cumbia, Texas is where its at! We are like a bridge of creativity linking the classic cumbia sounds, which later lead to modern cumbia with Selena and others, to the electro-cumbia mixes and hip-hop screwmbia mash-ups we hear today.
What have you learned from these eight years after founding the Peligrosa team?
I've learned that working together can be hard, but necessary. The art of compromise is important for life. Sometimes I ask the question: Do I wanna argue, or do I wanna get stuff done? Mostly I've learned to get stuff done, although sometimes arguments lead to the best ideas!
What can we expect at the Peligrosa 8-Year Anniversary Tour, which kicks off tonight here in Houston?
I can say this much.... There has never been two of the same Peligrosa parties... they are always different. We have nine DJs in this crew, there's no way we can duplicate things. And what's cool is that there is always this house party vibe where everyone gets excited and says "let me play one more", and that "one more" becomes five more, and everyone benefits from that energy. Plus, in Houston, the Bombon crew is amazing. They are like the mayors of H-Town!
We will also have my homie Fat Tony on hand to serve as the MC, who always gets down and is full of positive energy. Happy Colors from Miami is fucking crazy with his wild hair and sound. Que Bajo from NYC always represents. And then you have DJ Playero, who I don't think has ever been to Texas. He was the driving force behind the dembow and reggaeton movement in Puerto Rico in the '90s and 2000s. Plus we have other surprises and giveaways throughout the night. So this will be the past, present, and future [of Latin music]... all in one night! Everyone is invited!
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The Peligrosa 8th Anniversary Tour kicks off in Houston on Thursday, December 17th at Fox Hollow (4617 Nett). Visit http://win.gs/RSVPpeligrosa8 for the free RSVP. 18 and up are welcome.
When he's not roaming around the city in search of tacos and graffiti, Marco points his camera lens toward the vibrant Houston Music scene and beyond. You can follow his adventures on Instagram: @MarcoFromHouston.