Archive for the ‘Colombia’ Category

Interview: Eric Banta (Names You Can Trust)

Monday, April 15th, 2013

I had the chance to meet up with Eric Banta, Label Manager for NYCTrust, while he was in the Bay Area recently for some DJ gigs. Eric and I talked about his role in the NYCTrust label and the influence it has ended up having in highlighting some great new bands from Bogotá, Colombia.

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Adam Dunbar: Please introduce yourself and your record label, Names You Can Trust.

Eric Banta: My name is Eric Banta otherwise known as E’s E, and I’m one of the founders of the Names You Can Trust record label. The way it began is it started in 2005 or 2006 with myself and Oneman and Monk One coming together to create a label that would be an outlet to release music that we were feeling at time, but also to create something that we could call our own.

AD: Where did the strong Latin vibe that permeates through your label come from, and how did you decide to start putting all this great stuff out?

EB: It was kind of a natural progression of what we were into at the time. We were always into salsa music from NYC and Puerto Rico, but then we started getting more into South American styles like Cumbia, other music from Colombia, Panama, and Chile and also Peruvian Chicha. You know how it is: as a record digger in general you just get exposed to different styles of music, especially being in NYC. So, it was something that we had been into for a while and we just wound up making some stuff as Greenwood Rhythm Coalition [E’s E and Monk One] that had a Latin influence. It turns out our tracks like “Guajira ‘78” and others ended up being very well received. But we weren’t really setting out to tackle Latin music specifically; it was just something that we were doing that we loved. Making those first few records led us into contact with other crucial folks, though. We wound up getting in touch with Frento Cumbiero and Mario Galeano Toro in Bogotá, Colombia.


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GUEST MIX: DJ Sport Casual

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Despite New York City’s grim situation these days in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Brooklyn-based DJ Sport Casual hit me up with this killer mix of wild Afro Latin goodness appropriately titled “Afro Latin”. Exploring an esoteric array of African and Latin music, the mix includes everything from Colombian Highlife played by midgets to a psychedelic cumbia about E.T.!

Light one up, play it loud, and don’t forget to have a drink in honor of all our friends in NYC having a difficult time right now!

 

DJ Sport Casual – Afro Latino
Future Funk guest mix for Musica Del Alma

Tracklist:
Mandela
El Evangelio
El Regreso de E.T.
Lucky El Rastrillo
Shango
Brisas De Cartagena
Sabor a Selva
Si Dios Fuera Negro
Esa Morena
Muamba, Banana e Cola
D.K. Njohera
Loumusu
Periquito con Arroz
Paloma Blanca
Tumba Hombres
La Cocha Pechocha

NEW MIX: Cumbia Costeña

Monday, October 15th, 2012

I am happy to finally unleash the fruits of an incredible trip to the Caribbean coast of Colombia (La Costa) earlier this summer. Along with my partner in grime, San Antonio’s own Alex LaRotta, I hit up record spots from Antioquia to Soledad looking for the deepest Cumbia and heaviest Salsa I could find in a month’s time. Since returning back home stateside, the result is my latest mixtape called Cumbia Costeña: a seamless mix of heavy accordeon & flute destruction. Featuring songs from famous Vallenato musicians like Alejo Duran to more obscure Costeños like Heber Macias, the mix attempts to provide a non-stop, beat-matched exploration of the musical patrimony of the storied Caribbean coast of Colombia.

I highly recommend you crack a nice bottle of Aguardiente or Rum before you press play!

Cumbia Costeña by DJ Slim Jenkins
A Musica Del Alma Mixtape Production

Alejo Duran y su Conjunto: “Cumbia Costeña” (Fuentes)
Heber Macias: “Cumbia Linda” (Cupido)
Alberto Pacheco: “Santo Domingo” (Fuentes)
Los Corraleros de Majagual: “La Butifarra” (Fuentes)
Anibal Velasquez: “La Cumbia de Guatapa” (Discos Colombia)
Anibal Velasquez: “Mi Cumbia” (Union Musical, Venezuela)
Simon Mendoza y su Cordobesa: “Goza Marucha” (Philips)
La Monteria Swing: “La Pua” (Fuentes)
Catalino de Barranquilla y su Combo: “Tambores de Mi Tierra” (Orbe)
Juan Piña y sus Muchachos: “Zapatico Viejo” (Fuentes)
Lito Barrientos: “Oye Mi Cumbia” (Tropical)
Edmundo Arias y su Orquesta: “Venenosa” (Sonolux)
Rufo Garrido: “Se Baila Asi” (Philips)
Toño y su Combo: “Cumbia Soberana” (Philips)
Sonora Curro: “El Pajaro Prieto” (Philips)

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As mentioned above, my friend and fellow vinyl enthusiast Alex LaRotta was an indispensable digging companion on this trip. He has also just released a Cumbia mix, this one just as earth rumbling as Cumbia Costeña. It’s called ¡GUEPA CARAMBA! and it’s hosted on the always-fresh Nertorious Audioblog.

Have a listen!

Rock Bogotano: La Banda Nueva

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Sifting through shelves of moldy records on a recent digging excursion in coastal Colombia, I came across a unique rock album amidst a sea of salsa LPs. The colorful cover of La Banda Nueva‘s lone LP, La Gran Feria, immediately caught my attention, and was a welcomed bonus to all of the Cumbia and Salsa LPs I had purchased up until that point. I immediately threw it on my portable turntable and was blown away with the sounds that met my ears.

Simply put, rock is not the genre of music that Colombia is best known for. Only a handful of rock bands existed there in the 1960s and 70s, the vast majority of which could be found in the three cities of Bogotá, Medellin and Cali. What originally started as La Nueva Ola movement during the 1960s which looked to American and British popular rock groups for inspiration, soon blossomed into a creative space where rock bands drew inspiration from many sources, both external and internal, by the early 1970s. Perhaps one of the best outfits from this period was La Banda Nueva, comprised of one member from a major early Nueva Ola group called Los Flippers alongside 3 session musicians from Bogotá, who released their La Gran Feria LP on Discos Bambuco with the full support of label owner Eduardo Calle.

Their music could lazily be described as “Progressive Rock”, or Prog, but that umbrella term does this music a disservice. La Gran Feria mixes a pretty startling variety of musical influences into its gamut, including jazz, psych, blues, and funk. “Emiliano Pinilla” starts the LP off with a bang, letting keyboardist Orlando Betancur unleash a devastating key pattern over a funky drum beat. The lyrics on this particular track are also great and firmly press political boundaries of the era. “Rumba Uno” is probably the stand out track for me on the LP, though, with an ingenious jazzy backbone with Orlando Betancur again taking center stage with some incredible improvisation. A total gem of a record from Bogotá that has me wanting more!

Banda Nueva: “Emiliano Pinilla” & “Rumba Uno”
From the La Gran Feria LP (Bambuco, Colombia, 1974)

 

LUCHO BERMUDEZ AT 100

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

 

Today would be the 100th birthday of Lucho Bermudez, a personality who speaks to us in 2012 through his classic Colombian costeño songs and continuing reverberating impact on the sonic landscape of Latin America.

Born on January 25th, 1912, in an inland town close to the beautiful beach city of Tolu, Colombia, this sartorial gentleman who is immediately recognizable from his patented slicked-back hair and thick-rimmed glasses got his big break by directing the influential Orquesta del Caribe of Cartagena. As early as the late 1930s, the band was pumping out Porros and Mapales that lit up ballrooms across the Colombian Caribbean coast in stark contrast to the popular waltzes of the day. His orchestra was largely responsible for bringing music that at the time was associated with the black lower classes into elite clubs & radio stations, first on the coast, and then into the capital of Bogota and other mostly white cities of central Colombia.

Feliz cumpleaños centenario, Lucho!

My personal favorite Bermudez track would have to be “Plinio Guzman”, a heavy Gaita that features a wicked back and forth between Lucho’s stylish clarinet and the wall of brass of his orchestra. A true Colombian masterpiece!

Lucho Bermudez: “Plinio Guzman” (Zeida, 195?)

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Lucho Bermudez: “Gaiteando” & “Mi Pueblo” (Silver, 196?)

Another incredible album by Bermudez is his Gaiteando LP, released on the famed Silver label in the 60s.  It features the classic “Arroz Con Coco” (which I won’t include here since it has been comped), along with a host of other solid music such as “Gaiteando” and the slept-on “Mi Pueblo”, a track that showcases a ridiculous trumpet player as it slowly builds up into sureshot dancefloor heat.  A classic!  Now, who has a mint copy for me?

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For more tracks by Lucho Bermudez, I strongly recommend tracking down his original Colombian LPs through eBay.  Alternatively, the Soundway Records collection that came out last year (licensed properly through the correct channels and everything) is a great way to familiarize yourself with his classics!

Guest Mix for Soul Bonanza (Japan)

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Just wanted to plug my latest Latin mix, which the cool folks at Soul Bonanza are hosting for me.   The mix, entitled “Me Gusta Como Bailas”, is a combination of my favorite styles of Latin music all in one: Pachanga, Cumbia, Descarga, Funk, Salsa, etc from places like California, Ethiopia, Colombia and Cuba!  Make sure to check back to their site for the best in Tropical sounds from Latin America, the Caribbean & Africa.

Click here to listen to the mix!

 

LOS SEVEN DEL SWING: Picanton

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

This LP was easily the find of the year for me. My top want as I headed down to Colombia earlier this summer to do some digging. It’s a legendary salsa record from a part of the country that was producing super deep cumbias at the time, making it stick out from the rest of the famed Candelazos Curro series all the more. It’s not the rarest record I got all year, nor the cheapest score, but it really doesn’t get any better than daydreaming for months about finding a record on a digging excursion, then pulling it on your second day there.

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Los Seven Del Swing: “Silencio” (Philips, Colombia)

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Los Seven Del Swing: “Descarga Improvisada” (Philips, Colombia)

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Los Seven Del Swing: “Celoso” (Philips, Colombia)

NEW GAITA & CUMBIA MIX: Sabor y Ritmo (DJ Slim Jenkins)

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

I’m just back from vacation and inspired to start posting regularly again. This mix has been sitting on the back burner at Casa Musica since I made it this past summer after returning from a brief digging trip to Colombia. It’s finally time to let it loose!

Some of the heavier things that I ended up finding on the trip were the Gaitas (think brass-heavy uptempo Cumbias) from labels like Tropical and Fuentes. The ferocious big-band, wall-of-brass sounds that are featured in this mix fit nicely together so I decided to put them alongside some other classic cumbias for your listening pleasure. The result is Sabor y Ritmo, the latest mix from DJ Slim Jenkins & Musica Del Alma. Gozala!

 

DJ Slim Jenkins – Sabor y Ritmo

RIGHT CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD Or stream below:

TRACKLIST:

Sonora del Caribe: “Barranquillerita” (Discos Fuentes)
Edmundo Arias: “La Luna y El Pescador” (Codiscos)
Ramon Ropain / Combo Bonito: “Caracol” (Sello Vergara)
Pacho Galan: “La Funeral del Labrador” (Tropical)
Pedro Laza: “Monteria” (Discos Fuentes)
Ramon Ropain / Combo Bonito: “Cumbia Endominante” (Sello Vergara)
Los Playeros Del Caribe: “Cumbia Marina” (Melody)
Heber Macias: “Marly” (Cupido)
Los Tiburones: “Descarga Tiburones” (Tropical)
Ariza y su Combo: “Descarga en Saxofon” (Tropical)
Pedro Laza y sus Pelayeros: “La Magdalena” (Discos Fuentes)
Manuel Villanueva: “Mi Calabazao” (Tropical)
Banda 20 de Julio de Repelon: “La Chamaria” (Tropical)
Lucho Bermudez: “Mi Pueblo” (Silver)

Harold y su Banda – Heavy Colombian Funk

Monday, July 18th, 2011

I have finally gotten around to processing all of my finds from my Colombia / Venezuela trip, so while I put the finishing touches on a couple of mixes I’m working on, check out this LP by Harold y su Banda.  In terms of funky stuff, the below LP quickly bubbled to the top and stood out from the all rest.  What ended up being a nice find on my last day in Colombia from a street vendor in Bogota, the Evolucion LP really has a lot to offer those of us who love Latin Funk music.  Harold Orozco, originally from Cali, Colombia, was apparently an integral force behind Colombia’s La Nueva Ola (New Wave) rock / beat scene during the 1960′s which looked to American and British popular rock groups for inspiration.

Eventually, instead of simply covering North American songs, Colombian musicians branched out and explored amazing new avenues of sound in the late 60′s and early 70′s. This brings us to Harold’s 1975 album, Evolucion, with its incredible production of funky rhythms and lush soundscapes.  A true studio creation, recorded in Bogota between 1973 and 1975 at the legendary Ingeson Studios, you really get the sense that Harold’s musical vision has reached maturity.  My first impression of this LP when I heard it was that it was recorded by a Colombian musician who had relocated to the US (also, the LP’s cover photo looks like it was shot in the American Southwest, cover photo shot in Colombia’s Tatacoa Desert).  But after more detailed listening I think that this album is a unique Colombian creation.

“Latino” is a killer uptempo b-boy funk track that leads off with a stylish guitar and rumbling bass-line.  The brass section and vocals really make this track shine, though! And how about those breaks?  “Busque El Gato” sounds like it could be at home on a Wganda Kenya album with its Afro Funk guitar, and was recorded in 1973 (two years before all the others).  Again, this is b-boy catnip! I wonder what other stuff he recorded in the early 70s?

The last two tracks I’m including here, “Ansias de Vivir” and “Alguien”, definitely have obvious mid-70′s American funk influences.  I can hear Mizell Brothers vibes all over the place in “Ansias…” (RIP Fonce), and even some Barry White in “Alguien”!

Harold y su Banda: “Latino”“Busque El Gato”, “Ansias de Vivir” , “Alguien”
From the Evolucion LP (CBS, Colombia, 1975)

TOP 5 LATIN FUNK TRACKS: #1 !!!

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Y’all know the deal by now.  Here is my #1 pick!

1.)  Phirpo y sus Caribes: “Comencemos” (Philips, Colombia, 197?)

“Comencemos” is my top pick without question.  Phirpo y sus Caribes were a mysterious band formed in either Colombia or Venezuela during the early to mid-seventies, and were fronted by master Venezolano trombonist Porfi Jimenez (for those who have any doubts about this, just flip the first and last syllables in Porfi’s name around the “r” and you get “Phirpo”).  His trombone takes center stage in this cover of Fela Kuti’s classic “Let’s Start”, along with some fire-breathing trumpeters, a skilled guitarist and two energetic drummers.

Primarily known for his legendary salsa recordings, Parilla Caliente (hot grill/barbeque) was Porfi’s wild funk record that he presented to humanity.  While I dig pretty much the entire LP, “Comencemos” stands out as one of the most incendiary instrumental funk tracks of all time (Latin or otherwise).  It’s like a bright orange habanero pepper surrounded by green bells that look on in envy of its potency!

Special thanks to Oliver Wang and Roberto Ernesto Gyemant for help figuring out that Phirpo = Porfi Jimenez!

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I hope you enjoyed my top 5 Latin funk tracks!  I also wanted to include a few honorable mentions that didn’t quite make the cut:

La Kabala: “Cumbanchero” & “Miami Beach”
Ray Barretto: “Together”
Los Sobrinos del Juez (Judge’s Nephews): “Harina de Maiz”

Soul Fantastics: “El Mismo (Sere)”
Nico Gomez: “Ritual” & “Lupita” & “Baila Chibiquiban”
Raoul Zequeira: “Maraca y Bongo”