Akwid – “No Hay Manera”

The EMP pop conference mixes journalists and academics to good effect. They form a continuum whose parameters are argued and sketchily defined over three super-stimulating days. At one end of the continuum are the heavily jargonised theory papers which make zero concession to the untrained: the giveaway here is people using “speak to” when they mean “talk about” (“Can you speak to the specificity of identity in your ideas of the cyborg?” “I’m glad you asked me that”). At the other end are extended magazine features – hey hey listen to THIS and THIS! and THIS!!?. All my favourite papers were in the middle but some of the most useful were on that kind of fannish tip. Elijah Wald’s paper on the intermingling of nortena and hip-hop, for instance, liberally sprinkled with sound samples of which the most fascinating were by a band called Akwid. Here is an Akwid album) Wald concluded by exclaiming “We NEED more tubas in hip-hop”. I tracked down an Akwid track and was delighted to find that the band sounded just as entertaining as they did splashing colour into the EMP auditorium.