[Music] Various Artists – Palenque Palenque: Champeta Criolla & Afro Roots in Colombia 1975 – 91

Colombia is noted for its melange of European, Indigenous and African cultures which have produced gorgeous women, amazing cuisine and, of course, some of the wildest music in South America, giving the mighty Brazil a run for its money.

From the Bandcamp website:

Boasting twenty one pulsating tracks drawn from the northern coasts of Colombia, ‘Palenque Palenque!’ reveals a unique and fascinating story of how Afro Colombian music developed from the 1970s onwards and how the local sound-systems in Cartagena and Barranquilla played such an important role in shaping the sound of the Colombian champeta.

Co-compiled by Lucas Silva (resident of Bogota and owner of Palenque Records) and Soundway Records’ Miles Cleret, the album highlights the long relationship that the Caribbean coast of Colombia has with Africa stretching back to the 17th century. Specifically, the rise of the percussion heavy champeta sound, born out of a wave of popularity for psychedelic Afro, Latin & Caribbean music inspired by the DJs of the time.

The influence of the sound-systems spread to local artists as well as re-energising traditional African folk songs and rhythms that had survived since the days of slavery. Record labels recognized the major change in direction from the days when cumbia and porro ruled the hearts of the ghettoes and began employing bands that began experimenting and tapping into these new cultural and musical movements. Disco Fuentes were one of the first labels to recognize this sudden swing and duly signed Wganda Kenya who went onto record some of the first Afrobeat records in Colombia. The trend in recording African music continued at pace with labels like Machuca, Discos Tropical, Orbe & Costeño quickly adapting to the newly adopted sound of the Palenques and bands like Son Palenque, Cumbia Siglo XX and La Cumbia Moderna de Soledad went onto readapt Afrobeat rhythms with a Caribbean slant.

The vinyl version comes as a triple LP with two extra bonus tracks.

“Every track on this revelatory compilation throws a new element into the oddball mix.”
-The Telegraph 5/5

“Abelardo! It’s great music, and it fills a space, stylistically and sonically, that was previously empty.”
-Pitchfork 8/2

A revolutionary comp, giving the African Colombian music community their due.

[Music] Quantic & Nidia Góngora – Curao


This is one of the most difficult pieces of music I’ve ever had to classify, as well as being a gorgeous release.  Will “Quantic” Holland collaborates with Afro-Colombian chanteuse Nidia Góngora in an airy collection of danceable tunes and Colombian folk rhythms underpinned by Quantic’s typical fine production.

From Quantic’s Bandcamp page:

“They have combined to produce something magical” – THE GUARDIAN

The culmination of a creative partnership that has been sparking for the best part of a decade, ‘Curao’ is the full LP from world-renowned British producer Quantic and Colombian folklore singer Nidia Góngora. Out 12th May, the record brings a new and highly original interpretation of the unique, rich and mystical musical traditions of the Colombian Pacific Coast.

“Nidia has a very special story, and as a singer she embodies the spirit and ancestral treasures of her origin”, says Will “Quantic” Holland, of the singer who has lent her unique energy and talent to some of his most popular releases and live outfits. Considered one of the foremost artists of the typical marimba music of the South Pacific region, and a guardian of the oral tradition, Nidia Góngora fronts leading regional outfits including Grupo Canalon and plays a key role as a big sister and counsellor to younger groups. Now based in the city of Cali, Góngora was born into a musical family in the remote river village of Timbiquí, an Afro-Colombian community whose location and cultural contrasts provide endless inspiration.

Will “Quantic” Holland first became familiar with Góngora’s voice through the wall of his home in Cali, where he lived from 2007 for several years after visiting on a musical discovery mission and falling in love with the place. “My neighbour used to play a song from a Grupo Canalon CD on repeat”, he recalls. “From that moment, I realised how special Nidia’s voice was; then I got to know her compositions and lyrics, which are always incredibly beautiful.”

That magnetic voice and captivating songwriting combine with infectiously danceable beats and forward-thinking production on ‘Curao’, a collection of original tracks with the addition of two traditional pieces from the region’s rich songbook. Treating the stories and rhythms of Pacific music with utmost reverence, while forging a new and vital sound for today’s dancefloors, it reflects the distinctive yet diverse nature of the Pacific Coast itself – an area brimming with beauty and creativity but also shaded by conflict, affected by the work of mining companies, private militias and the drugs trade.

“You have to be very careful to keep a balance, so that this music will not lose its feeling and significance”, “but by performing songs from the indigenous and ancestral style, and recreating them through modern and dynamic sounds, I feel I can expose this musical proposition to a global space.” – Nidia Gongóra