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Friday
Jun182010

VA - Palenque Palenque: Champeta Criolla & Afro Roots In Colombia 1975-91 

Another genius set from Soundway, purveyors of no-nonsense global Afro-diasporic music, this time opening the book on champeta, a popular form for blacks in Cartagena and Barranquilla, cities that lie on the Carribean coast of Colombia. While most know Colombia for cumbia and its many permutations, head compiler Lucas Da Silva, boss of his own Palenque imprint, follows the development of champeta’s beginnings in the '70s, when local musicians took to Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat and began to integrate the Black President’s rhythmic sensibility and interlocking guitar parts into their local styles, which already took in soukous, calypso, zouk, and compas.

If you have a copy of the Fela tribute album Black Man’s Cry from earlier this year, you’ll be familiar with Lisandro Mesa’s “Shacalao,” one of a handful of covers of Kuti’s “Shakara” and an early example of champeta. Then, as it is now, it was the soundtrack blasted by sound systems in the rougher parts of town, but what you get here are the raw goods before modern production techniques slicked things up. 

Volume 2, please? Or how about a trawl through other untapped Colombian forms like fandango and puya next? There have been a few Colombian comps put out lately, but we’ve barely scratched the surface, folks. Soundway, bring it on!

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