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Diablos Del Ritmo - "the Colombian Melting-pot 1960 - 1985"

By Author: Waptrendz
Total Articles: 9

I first laid eyes on a Colombian record in 2006, in Montreal, Canada. I was offered a copy of “Come se Hace? Ah!”, an excellent compilation released by Discos Fuentes in the mid-1970s containing Wganda Kenya’s “Shakalaodé,” a Colombian version of Fela Kuti’s “Shakara,” which I included in my African DJ sets. Not the most original idea for someone trying to diversify, you might say, but it sparked an interest in Latin music and the desire to find more.

Pictures of Colombian music shops I had seen years ago, whose walls were completely covered in Nigerian record sleeves, had anchored themselves in my mind, and I was now secretly hoping to find a mixture of Colombian music influenced by African grooves. I began scouring the Internet and discovered blogs that dealt with vintage African music still popular in the picturesque cities on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, Cartagena and Barranquilla. I then contacted the bloggers to inquire whether they would be interested in exchanging vinyl records. The response - mostly from Barranquilla - was positive, and a few days later, I had already received a “most wanted” list. Music from Nigeria especially seemed to be very much in demand. http://www.waptrendz.com/music/latestmp3

A month later, I had managed to get half of the wanted tunes. But when I was asked which records I would like in return, I found myself in a dilemma since I did not have a clear notion of the scale or depth of what was out there. As a result, I sent a list of “obvious” artists: Michi Sarmiento, Afrosound, Wganda Kenya and Julian y su Combo, to name a few, with the latter particularly rousing my curiosity. Additionally, the magazine, Wax Poetics, had published an article about Colombian music, co-written by Will Holland, with a two-page spread featuring a multitude of record covers. And although I had no idea what those records were actually all about, I scanned and sent the pages to my new trading partners in Colombia. http://www.waptrendz.com/ringtone

I arrived in Cartagena, the birth place of the mighty Discos Fuentes, in March 2007. My luggage? African records. Two hundred 7 inch singles and around 100 LPs.
Until then, except for macabre tales about drug cartels, Pablo Escobar against Los Pepes, government forces fighting the Farc guerrilla group and a dose of kidnapping, I didn't know much about Colombia. Sadly, the image I just pictured is the impression held by most people about that country. So yes, I have to admit that I was a little tense. I had been to many different places on many different continents but I cannot remember seeing anything as beautiful and as warm as ‘La Costa,’ with its indescribable human warmth. I didn’t understand much of what was said around me, but the aura, the positive energy, the kindness of the people of the region is so addictive that you have to fall in love instantly with the Caribbean coast. Cartagena was nice with all its little restaurants and cafeterias around Getsemani, the beautiful old town surrounded by that impressive antique mural and its exclusive lodges, but eventually one does end up feeling like a tourist. And since that was not the feeling I was craving, I decided to continue to Barranquilla where collectors where expecting me. http://www.waptrendz.com/wallpapers

I arrived at the bus station and I could see blogger and African record collector Fabian Althona waving with a Michi Sarmiento record. On our way towards the city center, Fabian told me he thought someone was playing a prank on him - he didn’t believe I actually existed! http://www.waptrendz.com/video

We arrived at Fabian’s home and I pulled out the records I had brought. I must admit that I was somehow surprised by the kind of excitement around the record player - goosebumps all over the place and guys seriously grooving, something I didn't experience during my trips to Africa. "I have been listening to some of these songs since my childhood," said Fabian, “but I had no idea who the artists were. The sound systems on the Caribbean coast want exclusive, sole ownership to the music and, to make sure nobody would ever be able to recognize it, the original covers were thrown away and the label stickers were drawn over. For example, this (Congolese) song, “Ya Nini” by Orchestre Veve, is known here as “La Mencha” - that’s the name it was given since we didn't know the original title. To hold the original record now is an amazing feeling." http://www.waptrendz.com

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