Dear Tropical Diaspora friends,
I would like to share with you two unconventional songs part of the new compilation of Colombian afro-latin rhythms recently edited by the Spanish label Vampisoul – “The Afrosound of Colombia Vol.2”.
True is that the whole compilation is full of amazing crossovers that show the cannibalistic appetite of Colombian musicians for new popular hits. As the Cuban-American Dj and writer Pablo Yglesias –aka Dj Bongohead– explains in his introduction to the compilation the term “Afrosound” points to the rich Afro-coastal heritage of Colombia. “The music was taken from the Caribbean and largely agrarian savannah departments and transported inland to the country’s more industrialized mountain regions, where it was translated, simplified, mass marketed, manufactured, recycled, modernized and globalized with additives from distant shores.”
The first song I want to show you is Joe Arroyo’s “El Nativo” (“The Native”) performed by the cult band Wganda Kenya, the afro spin-off of Julio Ernesto Estrada “Fruko” at Discos Fuentes.
This is a beautiful reggae jam written by Mike Char, Fruko’s friend. Arroyo, an admirer of Bob Marley, who said that he knew Marley as he was staying in London in 1976/77 and later in New York, sings beautifully backed by Fruko’s funky style this socially conscious and a bit propagandistic sound in which he identifies himself as “native” with the “colour of race” and a “latin soul”.
The second song is an amazing version by Machuca Cumbia of the world famous disco song “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees, released in 1979 as “Cumbia Alivianada”.
It is interesting to see how Euro-American pop culture is here cannibalized and blended with elements of the Afro-Colombian tradition. Well done!!