Another one out of Alt Latino’s latest episode. This is Elsa y Elmar, aka Elsa Carvajal.
I caught this half-hour Alt Latino interview with Richard Blair, aka Sidestepper, and it just flew by (I’m both happy and sad about that) because the music contained within is beautiful. Check it out ; )
“Richard Blair is from Britain, but his heart is in Colombia. Blair went from producing albums for Peter Gabriel to immersing himself in the music and culture of Colombia — itself a country with deep African roots.
He chased a sound he’d heard in his head; one that mixed the burgeoning electronic music scene of Britain with the Afro-Colombian sounds he’d heard in the streets and clubs of Bogota, the Colombian capital.
The result, formed in 1996, was the band Sidestepper, which released four albums that left a huge impression on the Colombian music scene. Current Colombian bands like Bomba Estereo and Choc Quib Town have spoken at length about the influence of Sidestepper on their music.
Blair recently assembled a new generation of Colombian musicians to re-form Sidestepper and release an album (Supernatural Love) with a sound that looks forward and backward at the same time. It’s rich with tradition, and with the sounds of clubs around the world.
This week on Alt.Latino, Blair joins us to discuss Sidestepper’s history, his own musical influences, and what we’ve determined to be the ultimate truth. (Listen in to find out what I mean.)”
Listen to the great 33 minute podcast at NPR
“For the descendants of African slaves who populate Colombia’s poorest, most corruption-ridden corner, music has long been the most natural of distractions from a very hard life.
And so it is for ChocQuibTown, a soulful, hip-hop trio in the running for the year’s best Latin-Rock/Alternative Album at the Grammys on Feb. 13 in Los Angeles. Their music is a soapbox that you dance to.
“De Donde Vengo Yo” (Where I Come From), which won Best Alternative Song at the Latin Grammys in November, is a spirited lament of the hard-luck life: multinationals and corrupt politicians get rich off gold and platinum; poor blacks get run off their land by illegal militias.
Forty-five percent of the 450,000 inhabitants of the band’s home province of Choco, which is along Colombia’s northwest coast bordering Panama, has been uprooted, while 70 percent live on less than a dollar a day. Paved streets, electricity and running water are rare.” – ABC News (more here)
Systema Solar is a somewhat new group on the Colombian music scene and from all I can tell, they are quite popular, at least among the youth (according to my friends).
The 25-year-old Colombian singer and songwriter, Esteman, has written a song about his friends’ doings on Facebook, and the unavoidable avalanche of friends and event requests. Except for one “ladies and gentlemen” sample, the song is entirely sung in Spanish, but may we warn you that its instantly catchy pop melody will get stuck in your head for a while.
Excellent Short Interview (with my new favorite Colombian musician)
“Graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Berklee College of Music, after receiving the Best Achievement Scholarship, Marta Gómez has developed an extensive music career in the US which has placed her as one of the most interesting singer songwriters on the world music scene today.
Marta and her group perform a repertoire of original compositions based on a vast amount of rhythms from Latin America. On her songs, Marta mixes the joy of the Caribbean with the nostalgia of the Andes adding jazz and pop elements, taking the authenticity of South American indigenous folk music into a hip new realm.
With more than 70 composed songs, This young singer-songwriter not only traverses a whole range of Colombian cumbias and bambucos, Argentine zambas, Cuban sones and Peruvian landos but she also writes the kind of melodies and refrains that translate across whatever language she is singing in. That may be the reason that lead Marta to share the stage with musicians of different genres such as Bonnie Raitt , John Mayer, Totó la Momposina and Mercedes Sosa.” – Source
Listen to Melancolia