Will Lyle
performance of La Cumbia de MacArthur Park

Will Lyleperformance of La Cumbia de MacArthur Park

Notes from Will Lyle:

“My tune “La Cumbia de MacArthur Park” off my debut record LA Source Codes, with Adam Hersh on piano, Nikki Campbell on conga and Anthony Fung on drums. I’ve heard from a lot of folks that this is their favorite song on the record! It was written because I wanted to paint a picture of a cumbia with jazz harmony. I also wanted to make something that told the experience of refugees and immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and other areas of Central America, where “cumbia” is the popular folk music. Many of these people settled in MacArthur Park in the 1980s and 1990s. A lady from Quezaltepeque El Salvador effectively helped raise me.

The contrast of the traditional melody (influenced by Aniceto Molina, Buena Vista Social Club and La Chanchona Del Arcadio) with the later section that has jazz chords is meant to depict the changes the neighborhood has gone through in the past decade, such as gentrification and displacement. While I have lots of varied opinions on things, people being able to afford their neighborhoods and preserve their traditions is important to me. Anthony helped suggest to repeat the sections. Nikki took a brilliant conga solo and she’s definitely a highlight of the album. For better or worse circumstances, it’s meant to paint a picture. Hope you enjoy!”