Posts Tagged ‘ondatropica’

Songlines Essential 10: Colombian Albums

Posted on May 25th, 2015 in Recent posts by .


From cumbia to vallenato, Colombia is one of South America’s musical powerhouses. Russ Slater selects some of the country’s hottest releases, old and new

Bomba Estéreo Blow Up 
(Nacional, 2009)

The electronic music scene in Colombia’s capital and largest city, Bogotá, simmered throughout the 00s to the sounds of Sidestepper and releases by Aterciopelados’ Entrecasa label, but literally ‘blew up’ when Bomba Estéreo released this debut album at the end of the decade. International audiences lapped up the sound of singer Li Saumet’s passionate, punky delivery, with the group’s mix of tropical grooves and 90s dance beats.

Choc Quib Town - Oro 
(Wrasse Records, 2010)

With ‘Somos Pacifico’ this hip-hop trio created a modern anthem that everyone from the Pacific coast of Colombia, an area that has long been marginalised, could get behind. Aside ‘El Bombo,’ with its catchy-as-hell flute and percussion intro, the track propelled Oro into becoming a smash, both in Colombia and around the world, and forced many people to take the music of the mainly Afro-Colombian Pacific coast seriously. Reviewed in #68.

Fruko & Joe Arroyo - Rebelión Tropical: The Very Best Of
(Nascente, 2010)

Joe Arroyo was a huge name not only in Colombia, but across the Spanish-speaking world, and perhaps that’s due to his pan-Latin sound, with influences of soca, zouk and merengue alongside those from Colombia. Many of his biggest hits are included here, alongside his early work with producer Fruko, an artist who should be revered worldwide too, as highlighted by his production work that spans half of this two-disc set. Reviewed in #76.

Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto - Un Fuego de Sangre Pura 
(Smithsonian Folkways, 2009)

Playing gaita-led cumbia, Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto are a musical institution known for their traditional interpretations of Colombian music. Though they have been active since the 1940s – they have a revolving cast of members – this was the group’s first international release and showcases the astonishing purity of their sound.

Totó La Momposina - La Candela Viva
(Real World Records, 1993)

This is the album that announced Totó La Momposina as a name on the world music scene, starting a journey that has seen the singer – now in her 70s – begin a second chapter in her career as an international ambassador for cumbia. It’s still a great starting point to discover La Momposina’s music.

Ondatrópica - Ondatrópica 
(Soundway Records, 2012)

Led by British producer Quantic and Colombia’s Mario Galeano this project paid homage to Colombia’s tropical music of yore, while also adding some modern touches. Recorded with producer Fruko, the result is a blistering double album of cumbias, porros and descargas with doses of Afro-Pacific rhythms, dub and reggae. A Top of the World in #86.

Sexteto Tabalá - El Sexteto Tabalá 
(Ocora Radio France, 1998)

This is undoubtedly the album that introduced the music of the runaway slave colony Palenque to the world stage. Sexteto Tabalá, led by enigmatic bandleader Rafael Cassiani, mixed Afro-Colombian rhythms like bullerengue, cumbia and funeral rituals with Cuban son and scintillating percussion.

Carlos Vives - Clásicos de la Provincia
(Polygram, 1994)

Vallenato had fallen out of favour in the 90s. Vives changed that, first by impersonating vallenato legend Rafael Escalona in a hit soap opera, and then by releasing this groundbreaking album, reinventing the vallenato songbook with touches of rock and pop. Following its success Colombians all over dared to pick up the accordion once more.

Various Artists - Cumbia Cumbia 1 & 2
(World Circuit, 2012)

Discos Fuentes is known as the home of cumbia and on this compilation of their highlights, it’s easy to see why. From the orchestral cumbias of the 60s, onto the brass-filled grooves of the 70s and the smaller 80s combos the label stuck with the style through thick and thin. This collects the best of these recordings, offering a concise history of cumbia. Reviewed in #83.

Various Artists Pacifico Colombiano: Music Adventures in Afro-Colombia
(Otrabanda, 2011)

The full spectrum of Colombia’s Pacific Coast is represented on this gem that highlights the region’s strong African identity. Call-and-response vocals, deep percussion and marimba enhance the music of Grupo Socavón and Markitos, and Choc Quib Town’s fusion of música pacifica with hip-hop shows contemporary variations. Reviewed in #57.

What would make your top 10? Write and let us know (, or tell us on Twitter or Facebook.

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Ondatrópica cover Fela Kuti on new single

Posted on July 13th, 2013 in News, Recent posts by .

Photograph of Quantic and Mario Galeano by B+

All-star Colombian ensemble cover Fela classic

Ondatrópica, a project originally conceived by Will ‘Quantic’ Holland and Mario Galeano (Frente Cumbiero), return with a new single featuring a cover of Fela Kuti’s 1971 classic ‘Chop ’n’ Quench’.

The track was recorded during the original recording process for Ondatrópica’s acclaimed self-titled 2012 debut at Colombia’s famed Discos Fuentes studio. 

Following their well-received performance on Glastonbury’s West Holts stage, the ensemble continue their festival run at WOMAD Charlton Park (July 25-28) and the Open East Festival in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (July 27). 

Listen to the track:

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Win Tickets to Ondatrópica at KOKO this Friday

Posted on May 28th, 2013 in News, Recent posts by .

All-star Colombian ensemble play London venue

The 12-piece Colombian ensemble are set to bring their tropical cumbia sound to London as they headline Camden’s KOKO on May 31.

A project originally conceived by Will ‘Quantic’ Holland and Mario Galeano (Frente Cumbiero), Ondatrópica’s self-titled album was released last year via Soundway Records to critical acclaim (it was a Top of the World review in issue #86).  
Luminaries from Colombia’s musical past like Michi Sarmiento, Juancho Vargas, Wilson Viveros and Jorge Gaviria will join forces on stage with a new breed of young tropicalistas including vocalist Nidia Gongora and  percussionist El Chongo (Sidestepper).

To enter our competition for a pair of tickets or a copy of their self-titled record, click here.

Click here for tickets:

Ondatrópica live in New York:

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Further acts added to WOMAD Charlton Park line-up

Posted on April 12th, 2013 in News, Recent posts by .

© Matt Crossick

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, Toots & the Maytals and Carminho added to bill

WOMAD Charlton Park is back this summer from July 25-28. The first acts announced last month included Rokia Traoré, Gilberto Gil and Ondatrópica, and today’s announcement sees Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, Toots & the Maytals and Carminho join what is shaking up to be one of the strongest WOMAD line-ups to date.

Festivals are very much the talk of the town at the moment at Songlines HQ, with our definitive festival guide appearing in the next issue (June 2013, #92) on sale in the UK on April 26. The Songlines team will tenting it at WOMAD once again this year, so pop by and say hello. You can buy a discounted Songlines subscription with a weekend ticket here.

To purchase tickets or to find out more information (including our Songlines subscription/weekend ticket offer) please visit the WOMAD UK website.

Further confirmed WOMAD Charlton Park 2013 acts:

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 (Nigeria)
Toots & the Maytals (Jamaica)
The Heavy (UK)
Parov Stelar Band (Austria)
Adjágas (Norway)
Bombay Royale (Australia/India) 
Carminho (Portugal)
Christine Salem (Réunion)
Dizu Plaatjies and the Ibuyambo Ensemble (South Africa)
Flavia Coelho (Brazil)
Hidden Orchestra (UK)
Jesca Hoop (USA)
Katy Carr & The Aviators (UK)
Mohammad Reza Mortazavi (Iran)
Spoek (South Africa)
Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys (USA)
YesKing (UK)
Fimber Bravo (Trinidad)
Iadoni (Georgia)
Malouma (Mauritania)
Riot Jazz Brass Band (UK) 

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