That page: The entire bar becomes a dance floor at Tropitaal; this page: dj Anjali working the crowd. All photos by Anna Greer.
Amid the din of Chinatown’s hip-hop and house music is the sound of Mexico, especially bassbeefed versions of cumbia folk music. Originating in Colombia, cumbia has traveled Latin America and picked up a bit from each locality, transforming into a global and extremely popular genre—at least south of the border. DJs Michael Bruce and Coast2C—aka Sofía Acosta—are trying to change that in Portland by bringing warmth to the spaces between Portland’s busiest clubs. At the Rose Bar and Valentines—the shadowy bars Gran Ritmos usually hosts in—there is little to do but dance and that’s exactly how they like it. And while the venue may change as Gran Ritmos seeks higher aims, these Mexico City–vetted DJs will continue to bring the heat.
Though there may be no label more Portlandsounding than Bed of Roses, that crew, including Gumar and DJ Daniela Karina, is responsible for keeping Portland warm through the winter with a little tropical fruitiness. Their weird debut was in the middle of January in 2014 along inner NE Alberta. There’s nothing particularly tropical about the music, which ranges from techno to house to R&B, but the theme is all flowery shirts and flamingoes: Hawaiian ham and cheese, with the talent to back it up. Featuring appearances from man-boy band IBQT, Chanticleer Trü of neo-soul band Magic Mouth and a host of DJs from the likes of Dropping Gems and Mood Hut, Club Tropicana stays weird and wonderful all year long.