Animated Cumbia

Splashes of colour, indigenous patterns, forests, rivers and sunshine, two traditional dancers dressed in white and red – the video for JWCM’s Cumbia de Piedra is a beautiful audio-visual impression of the producer’s native Colombia.

Directed by Tomás Pichardo, a fellow student of Jhon Williams Montoya Castro (JWCM) at the Italian communications research centre Fabrica in Treviso, the video is inspired by rural Colombian life from indigenous traditions to those of today’s campesinos. Reminiscent of a Miró painting, mixing anmation, stop motion, rotoscoping and digital painting, it gives a vision of the country from afar, the perfect backdrop to JWCM’s music, marrying the rhythms of his native homeland with his own classical violin playing and electronica.

JWCM

However, this is not the first incarnation of Cumbia de Piedra. The track featured as the centrepiece from JWCM’s part art exhibition, part concept album Mohs, focussed on the idea of creating sounds from stone. Uniting diverse inspirations from folkloric rhythms and live sampling to the mineral classification studies of German scientist Frederich Mohs, the album is part digital cumbia, part classical violin and part experimental. It even features a bespoke instrument called the ‘stone pad’ made from stones.

New sounds are in the pipeline from JWCM so watch this space!

Frente Cumbiero // El Paujil

As we reach the last few hours on Kickstarter, I’m happy to reveal our last artist (for now 😉 )…Frente Cumbiero! The Colombian group will be creating a song by the wonderfully bizarre El Paujil or Blue Billed Curasow! This unique species found in the North of Colombia is recognised as Critically Endangered by the IUCN.

The Bird – El Paujil


The Artist – Frente Cumbiero

www.soundcloud.com/frentecumbiero

Frente Cumbiero‘s music is a journey through the darkest depths of cumbia, their mision – to take this entrancing Colombian genre and dance to the world! The band simultaneously celebrate the roots of the genre alongside pushing and embracing the new, no less than on their groundbreaking album with legendary Dub producer Mad Professor. Lead man Mario Galeano was also heavily involved in the globe trotting Cumbia all-stars group Ondatropica. Their own sound has a raw talent to it, succeeding where many fail in walking the line between the old and the new!

The Inspiration

“El canto del Paujil es poco melódico, pareciera más un rugido bajo y rasposo… no tiene una melodía musical… entonces hay dos opciones, o tomar mejor el contexto musical de la región de donde viene o intentar replicar ese rugido desde unos bajos sintetizados… veremos a qué camino nos lleva su inspiración. “
“The song of the Curassow is not very melodious, it is more like a roaring bass…it doesn’t have a musical melody. So, we have two options either we take inspiration from the music of the region that this bird comes from or we try to replicate this booming sound with some synthesied basses. We will see down which path the inspiration takes us! “
Frente Cumbiero

Kickstarter

Lulacruza // Cucarachero de Niceforo

We are very excited to announce the first birds and musicians to star on Rhythm and Roots’ forthcoming album A Guide to the Birdsong of South America. We will be revealing the artists and their endangered birds one at a time from now until the end of the Kickstarter project so watch this space. For each of the posts we will give some background information on the bird itself followed by a brief introduction to the artist that will make a track inspired by this species and its special song.

The Bird – Cucarachero de Niceforo

Cucarachero de Niceforo


The Artist – Lulacruza

www.lulacruza.com
Lulacruza

“Lulacruza weaves female vocals, South American instruments, found sound objects and field recordings through electronic manipulation. Primal songs which combine improvising, channeling and exploring acoustics and vibration. Their music unfolds as hypnotic prayers and electronic folk with nymph-like vocals; aquatic textures and up-tempo, handcrafted South American rhythms.”  Continue reading

FILM: Que Pasa Colombia

Que Pasa Colombia is snapshot of the flourishing modern Colombia music scene. The home of Salsa, Cumbia and Champeta, Colombia has played a very special role in the story of Latin American music. A melting pot of African, European and Indigenous culture gave birth to an incredibly rich and diverse musical heritage. This incredible history is today being rejuvenated by a new generation of musicians and producers, taking the rhythms and traditions from the mountains to the pacific and revisiting them for the 21st century.

This 30 minute documentary is a great look into the scene led by Colombian bands like Puerto CandelariaMojarra ElectricaZalama CrewPernett and Cero39.

The film was inspired and influenced by Canalh’s brilliant Au revoir Colombie Mix, so here is the soundtrack to the film and a great place to start to get into Colombia’s vibrant music scene.

Find out more about Que Pasa Colombia here.

Rhythm & Roots Volume XV

As Autumn dawns in the Northern Hemisphere we return with another selection of global treats for your earbuds. This is global music in its essence, songs that push borders and traverse genres, mixing folk with electronica, modernity with tradition. It is also music that will make your feet shuffle and your head nod. The perfect antidote to a cold, frosty morning or the adequate accompaniment to a warm, sticky Friday evening. Put it on loud and enjoy! Full tracklist after the jump.

Continue reading

Los Diablos Del Ritmo (Analog Africa)

I have been sitting on this wonderful album released by Analog Africa for a while but have only just got round to fully immersing myself in it. On paper this is another compilation celebrating the seemlessly endless resource of brilliant Colombian music. In reality, it is a collection of tracks meticulously chosen over a six year period representing a moment in history when the cross-roads between Colombian and African culture were at their height.

Back in 2007 label head Ben Redjeb travelled to Colombia’s Caribbean coast with a suitcase filled with two hundred 7-inch singles and around 100 LPs of African music. His aim: to meet local record collectors and exchange his collection with their own, collating an album that would  document the heyday of Afro-Colombian roots revivalism on the Caribbean coast in the 1970s.

Central to this scene were the Picó soundsystems and their DJs who would play rare African tracks brought by traders and sailors to eager crowds. The DJs’ reputation relied upon the exclusivity of the records they were playing – sleeves were thrown away and label stickers scribbled over to maintain the secreccy of these killer tracks. So, when Redjeb arrived with his suitcase of these exact same records  he was met with unexpected fervour from the collectors who instantly recognised the tracks but had no idea of the names or artists.

“African music was not ours and we didn’t understand the lyrics but we could feel our roots and the connection with our ancestors – that was beautiful for me.” Fabian Althona

Much as the African music that was being played in the 1970s was incorporated into the local scene, in a strange, 21st century, globalised way Redjeb was carrying on this cross-continental cultural tradition. A 21st century fusion of African rhtyhms with Colombian DJs via a German record enthusiast.

As he came offering such valuable goods, he was able, in turn, to collect thousands of rare records from the local enthusiasts and picóteros.  These were carefully whittled down to the 32 tracks on the album, offering not only a collection of rare musical gems but also a snapshot into the thriving and electric music scene on the Colombian Carribean in the 1970s.

“Diablos Del Ritmo” celebrates this fusion of rhtyhms and styles, the meeting of Afrobeat, Terapia and Lumbalú with Colombia’s own Gaita, Puya, Porro, Cumbiamba, Mapelé and Chandé. This is epitomised on tracks such as Alfredo Gutiérrez y sus Estrellas’ Pajaro Madrugado or Myrian Makenwa’s brilliant Amampondo.

The tracks not only mix the rhythms but also the language, incorporating words of African origins with Spanish and English. The 32 songs move between classic cumbias to reverb filled, Colombian Afro-beat and off into territory that you would never have associated with Colombian music. It is impossible to sum up the intricacies of this music and its historical context but the album comes with a rich 60 page booklet detailing the artists, the music and the story. A unique and highly recommended release.

BUYAnalog Africa

Esperando el Tsunami Outtakes

Since Lulacruza and Vincent Moon returned from their ambitious Esperando el Tsunami project, which set out to capture the soul of Colombia’s musical landscape, we have been treated to a steady stream of material. The latest offerings from the project are these three ‘outtakes’ from Colombian musicians, recorded during the trip. Each outtake is accompanied by a bio, the video and even audio files (all available for free and for distribution). With Lulacruza & Moon as the facilitators, these snippets offer a wonderful little insight into three very different strands of Colombian music.

After the release of the film and these teasers, you get the feeling they are still sitting on a mountain of golden footage and recordings (we still haven’t heard much about the album itself). What I really love about this project is the way the whole thing is presented, the beautifully designed website, the quality of the videos and the way the material is released, bit by bit. It is done with a real finesse and sits as a thoughtful homage to Colombia and its music – a project worth heralding.

Aterciopelados – Mothership Andean Roots

Son Palenque – Legendary Roots of Champeta 

Jorge Henriquez – The lonely voice of the desert