Crampton navigates nonlinear dimensions of time and space. She finds in errors, chaos, and the irrational a place where anti-coloniality and queerness are kept alive. Her art is as irreducible to coloniality as indigeneity itself: the way she unapologetically claims her queer and Aymara becoming uplifts the experiences of those who still were/are caught in-between Western categories of being. Many of us brown/queer folks can never be grateful enough for what she and her music has meant to us.

Crampton has defined her work as “folk music,” foregrounding its primordial meaning: music tied to a constant (re)definition of identity through memory, history, and past/future continuity. From early times to the present, evocations of huayno, cumbia, saya, caporal, and Huancayo styles have helped our Andean community, living in and out of diaspora, thrive. Her music made me feel seen. It made me want to heal the wounds that colonialism had inflicted on me my whole life — wounds I previously lacked the capacity to see.

A press release once defined her style as “an adoption of sonic dialects across the Americas [that] shape the way different communities hear not just sounds but frequencies.” Blending all possible combinations of Andean melodies and rhythms, Mexican cumbia sonidera, Brazilian funk, Angolan kuduro, noisy R&B edits and other oddities, the complexity of her output was unique. Crampton influenced a whole new generation of producers, DJs, and performers, creating a nonlinear space/time in which the people of the Abya Yala — “Latin America” in the native Kuna language — could survive and heal.

… In 2018 she released a self-named LP for Break World Records dedicated to Ofelia – a revolutionary china (“femme” in Aymara) travesti – one of the “mariposas, or butterflies, who forever altered the costume of the china supay in the 1960s and 1970s, the Aymara femme devil performed by queer and trans bodies in the street festivities, which, though now formally Christianised, can be traced back to before the conquest” (E.C. interviewed for TANK Magazine, 2018). The album was also a reflection on pachakuti, the Quechua world-reversal and dissolution of power structures, and taypi, the space/time paradox where dichotomies collide in a “radical asymmetry.1”

… 1 As Crampton explained to TANK Magazine in 2018, taypi is the “juncture where the space-times of the here and now and the unknown or de-known co-mingle – where, for example, the world of outside and the world of inside are woven together, braided so as to appear as one color, one thing, until you look closely to see they cohabit or speckle one another without ever fully dissolving into a whole, single object, such as the desired third object of mestizaje or hybridity as political projects. It seems to be about those contrasts remaining, failing to disappear at such an intense level of intimacy, and generating energy from their contradiction, their resistance to fully merge, with fields of possibility radiating from their being together.” The asymmetry that taypi carries, is the reason “why world reversal emerges out of [it]. Perhaps one component of taypi could be described as superimposition, the paradox or split in physics’s fundamental unit et cetera.”…

My model of creolization has therefore in many senses been considerably extended; it has become, for one thing, less linear and “progressive,” more prismatic, and includes more comprehensively than formerly a sense of cultural interaction not only among all elements of the “tropical plantation,” but also between these elements at certain metropolitan aspects (look at popular music for instance) of the continent.…

This is above all a question/problem of perception. One view—the monolithic, parodoxically plural—conceives of society as being a single sacred construct, with a single sociocultural product: political nationality. But practice has never made much sense of this theory; and for a long time we have had to bear the burden of perceiving of ourselves as “nations” (“West Indians”) without norms (somatic, intellectual, aesthetic); and to counter this breakdown in expectation, we developed the pessimistic notion of a plural society of one “official” nation/ caste, ruling by force and alliance with the metropole, and a number of inferior and deprived subcultures, with their peculiar mores: linguistic, kin-sense, cook-style, etc., but having no viability or visibility as long as they remained eccentric or marginal. The prismatic concept, on the other hand, conceives of all resident cultures as equal and contiguous, despite the accidents of political history, each developing its own life-style from the spirit of its ancestors, but modified—and increasingly so—through interaction with the environment and the other cultures of the environment, until residence within the environment—nativization—becomes the process (creolization) through which all begin to share a style, even though that style will retain vestiges (with occasional national/cultural revivals back towards particular ancestors) of their original/ancestral heritage.

Edward Kamau Brathwaite