I don’t think there’s been a thread on Colombian music until now. There have been references to Quantic, who spent 7 years in the country, and I’ve really enjoyed those tracks of his I’ve heard. But a few weeks ago, I started using one song on my cheap mobile as a way into random play – SIn Oficio by Systema Solar. At first, I just thought it was, you know, Latin. But the more I heard it, and absorbed the sounds, the more impressed I got. Snatches of street scenes, traditional folk and modern beats and record scratching – the sort of magpie musical pleasure I have got in the past from Manu Chao, Alabama 3, and other genre-crossing acts.
Then I watched the video, and then others by the same band – a Colombian collective that freely mixes hip-hop, rap, and techno with Cumbia, Afro-Caribbean, champeta, bullerengue (apparently). Knowing nothing of any of these latter genres, I wikied Colombian music – over 100 separate genres of music. Who knew?
More to the point, are there other Colombian musicians like Systema Solar? Well, yes and no – a few late nights researching and I came up with Chocquibtown (closest), Bomba Estereo, Frente Cumbiero, Monsieur Periné, Boom Full Meke, Palenke Soultribe, Sidestepper – among many others mixing trad Colombian genres with modern instrumentation and styles.
Would you like to post of your experience/knowledge/joy of Colombian music? I might post some of my other favourite discoveries if there is interest. I’d have been happy just to have discovered Systema Solar – who seem to have their hearts in the right places and make happy, vigorous dance music – but there is so much more than I could ever have thought. Is there another country with such rich and varied traditions?