Sam Trenholme's webpage
Copyright 2012
Here I am with one of the Kabahs, Maria Jose

Maria Jose: Kabah Lives

While most of Kabah no longer makes music, Maria Jose, who has always been my favorite Kabah, is still keeping the spirit of Kabah alive. I recently met her; not only is her English perfect, she’s a very kind, down-to-earth person.

Maria Jose — a.k.a “La Josa” — has a Twitter and web page. Her (as of 2013) latest album, De Noche is really great dance music in the style of Kabah.

Why Kabah kicks ass

OK, I'll admit it. I have a weakness for cheezy synth-pop, being a child of the first MTV generation, when such groups as Soft Cell, Gary Numan, A Flock of Seagulls, Depeche Mode, Simple Minds, Peter Godwin, and others domainated the "New Wave" music scene (as we called it back then). Of course, the rest of the world moved on to other cheezy forms of music; by the early 1990s I had to listen to special radio shows to get my synth-pop fix. By the mid-1990s, even that option was not available; I almost gave up listening to music altogether (except for old tapes) for years; the only music I listened to was the occassional "dance music" CD.

Then I discovered that there is a thriving synth-pop scene in México. In fact, this scene has a lot of the innocence that the US/Europe scene had in the early 1980s; this technology is still very new and revolutionary in México, since traditional music ther never has not fallen out of favor with the younger generation the way it did here in the US.

There are three groups who have caught my ear. One is Moenia, who is more Depeche Mode than Depeche Mode themselves these days, according to at least one reviewer. Then there is OV7, whose most popular song is called "Love Colada", (this is not a translation; the song name has an English word in it), which was the theme for a popular soap opera called "Como En El Cine" (like being in the movies). And, last but not least, there is Kabah.

I remember the first time I heard this group. I was on one of those ubiquitous small Mexican jitney busses going to Puebla's zócalo when this really catchy song came on the radio. I couldn't understand a word of what they were singing, but the beat and the singing were just fantastic, especially for a song thumping at only 108 BPM.

This song amazed me so much, I asked the bus driver if he knew who did the song; unfortunatly he didn't. When I heard the song again, a couple of days later, I had to ask a stanger on the street the name of the song. I found out that this incredible song was called "La Calle de las Sirenas", by a group called "Kabah".

Within 48 hours, I had Kabah's greatest hits (exitos) CD in my hand, which I bought at a record store called Mix Up. I was so curious what this amazing song, "La Calle de las Sirenas", sang about that I had a friend of mine transcribe the lyrics for me, which I later translated. Being a long-time fan of fantasy, it was nice to have a reference when trying to say "faerie", or the name of any of a number of other fantasy creatures, to a native speaker.

While "La Calle de las Sirenas" is one of Kabah's more popular songs, they have many other excellent songs. They did an excellent theme for the popular Soap Opera, "Amigas y Rivales". They also have an album and song called "Esperanto"; being one who believes that we may yet have an international auxiliary language, it was nice to see them give a nod to this excellent language. Another soap opera theme, "Amor Estudiante", is a joyful little song with cheesy soap opera lyrics (which are, for foreigners like myself, very easy to understand). Another song with cute lyrics and a pretty melodic beat (more smooth and melodic than anything we had in the early 1980s; synths from that era sounded like hornets buzzing in comparison [1]) is "Te Necesito" which sounds like your typical sappy cheezy love song until the last line, at which point we realize the whole song is about the singers' dog. This, if anything, makes the song more cheezy, but just as I adore Dr. Who and its cheezy special effects, I adore Kabah and their cheezy music and lyrics. To be fair, Kabah is no more cheezy than Thomas Dolby, A Flock of Seagulls, Human League, New Order, Depeche Mode, Blancmange, Soft Cell, or almost any other early 1980s synth-pop band; you gotta love cheeze if synth-pop is your bag.

What makes Kabah great is that they have a consistently warm and positive message. Their music can be very energetic; when I am half-asleep and need to wake up, I reach over to one of my Kabah CDs to get a needed energy boost--their music gives me more energy than a triple expresso! This is a refreshing change from the angst-driven lyrics of many early 1980s songs, or Moenia for that matter.

If early 1980s synth pop is your cup of tea, give Kabah a listen. I do not think you will be dissapointed.


Now, you may wonder why bother with a Links page in this enlightened day and age of Google? Well, this page would not be needed, except for the fact that Kabah is a good number of things, such as Mayan ruins, something Muslem, a common word in some foreign get the idea. These links, on the other hand, talk about the same lovely Mexican blokes who seem to, in the above picture, be in a competition with A Flock of Seagulls over who can come up with the most ridiculous hairdue.

English language information

  • Josh Aldana's once had an English-Language Kabah page over at Aldanaweb. However, Josh was too cheap to re-register his domain, and a squatter picked it up. He was the only other person on the web to have a page for Kabah in English. Now that his domain has expired, I guess this is the only English-language description of Kabah in the entire world.

  • A Houston Chronicle article about the band (registration required to read). Since about zero of you will actually bother, here is the thumbnail summary: The article was more critical than me, complaining about them singing off-key. If you ask me, this just makes them sound more like the great early 1980s synth-pop bands.
Spanish language information
  • Their official web page. What blows me away is that all of the band members (save one) tell the world, among other things, how old they were the first time they made love. One band member even confesses that they sometimes go to the bathroom in cans because she has (apparently) a bladder control problem. In a word, wow!

    The band's Web marketing department used computers with non-Y2K-compliant BIOSes which formatted all of their hard disks as soon as the millennium struck; the page has not been updated in any serious manner since then. It mainly talks about their 2000 album XNE. Hardly any mention is made of their 2002 "La Vide que Va" album; there is no mention of their up-and-coming 2003 album.

  • The most active forum of Kabah fans. If you speak any Spanish, this is a great place to talk about Kabah with other Kabah fans. The people here are very friendly; this is a 100% flame-free forum. I guess their censorship software filters out the word "OV7" ("OV7 vs. Kabah" is Mexico's version of "Vi vs. Emacs" [2]) Be sure to go to your Mozilla settings and turn off pop-ups before entering; they are hosted on a free web site which loves to annoy sweet, innocnet Kabah fans with far too many pop-ups.

  • This fan page has some excellent background wallpapers of the band members, using artwork and photographs from the "La Vida que Va" album.

  • This fan club, who name is translated as Magic and Energy with Kabah, was started by Jess, who is definitely not a loser.

  • This was once another fan web site, with an official-sounding web page name. Oh, the joys of a country where a fan can get the code domain without having the band's label's legal department having a sudden fascination with the domain holder's mailbox. He will probably be able to keep the domain until he puts OV7 pictures on it, at which point keeping the domain will be the least of his worries. Anyway, he tired of the domain, and, surprise, some squatter got the domain. I'm linking to a web archive copy.

  • A fan web site from the state of Chihuahua; this one has excellent coverage of every time Kabah graces Chihuahua with their presence. The name of the site means "A world with Kabah"; these fans meet the group when they arrive at the airport and do not leave them alone until Kabah is on their return flight.

  • In case that is not fanatical enough for you, there is a group called mi Razon de Existir es Kabah. This is the fan club for the die-hard Kabah fanatic, their name means "My reason for existing is Kabah". Let us hope, for their sake, that Kabah doesn't break up. OK, since Kabah did break up, let's hope these people weren't too traumatized.

  1. Come to think of it, the synths in "Amigas y Rivales" do have a suitable invasion-of-the-bees sound which any synth-pop lover can't resist. Check out the beginning of this song (the full-length one, not the theme played on TV for the soap opera). The drums also have a Lynn LM1-style handclap in the chorus.

  2. Since you asked, Vi. Vim, to be exact. Now, if only I could figure out how to make 'u' do nothing. I almost never need to undo, and hate it when it undoes my last 20 minutes of blood, sweat, and tears programming.

    I used to like Pico, but Pico (nor its libre clone, Nano) does not have UTF-8 support.