"El tren"

En voiture, on est en retard!
Diblo Dibala: "Super K"


Robo Arigo: Sexy Thing

Robo Arigo: Sexy Thing (Supreme Stars International, Nigeria, 1982)

Please note: this is a major contribution to the internet music community. Justice and truth can be over-run by the absolute powers of power but that is only for as long as the populace remains illiterate and ignorant (Robo Arigo). Flash it download. And let me quote the excellent Comb and Razor blog here (C&B uploaded a track from Robo's LP a bit more than a year ago): Robo Arigo's Sexy Thing album is in my opinion one of the rarest and most rewarding funk LPs of the 1980s. I like the rough and demo-ish quality of it, with his vocals mixed down low throughout to showcase his funky chops. Burning hot tunes and serious bass playing indeed by this former member of Pogo Ltd: pure Konastone ponk - ponkier than punk. Play it loud while you cruise the streets of Music City.


Prende la moto

More champeta... Sampled soukous guitars and Dee-lite infused video effects for this lost classic by Grupo Kussima: "Prende la moto" (Cartagena, Colombia, 1990s?). If any of our Colombian readers has more info about this, please let me know!


Demon Channels

Following acclaimed screenings of his former video Rapture Adrenaline in Austria and Belgium in 2009, here comes the brand new work of Afro-American musician and visionary multimedia artist James Ferraro. Less based on found footage, Demon Channels features animation and original footage filmed on location by James Ferraro in the land of one million frost tipped dreams... Hollywood California. Just following his masterplan, digging the same obsessions a bit deeper and getting better and better. James is also acting in this one. A full length feature video will follow this Summer.


Picós y picoteros

I came across this dream
collection of picós pictures on Africolombia's blog.
Picós are these huge, powerful, customized, hand painted, highly fetishized sound systems from the Colombian Carribean Coast (Barranquilla, Cartagena, Palenque de San Basilio...).

Surfing and digging for info about picós I landed on this page (which has a few nice pictures too) and on this interesting essay by Deborah Pacini Hernandez: "Sound Systems, World Beat, and Diasporan Identity in Cartagena, Colombia" (published in Diaspora. A Journal of Transnational Studies, Volume 5, Number 3, Winter 1996, University of Toronto Press). Although this paper has been written 14 years ago, describing a situation which since then has probably evolved (at least on the technological level I guess), it definitely still captivates. The author traces the fascinating cultural connection between this particular area of the country and Africa, a connection originating in the dark slavery days of the XVIIth century... and which among others lead - in the second half of the XXth century and particularly in the 70s - to the development of picós (i.e. local sound systems - the word picó deriving from the English pick up, referring either to the record player or to the truck transporting the whole thing) and champeta (the music played on these systems).

Pacini Hernandez not only traces back this cultural phenomenon but also focuses on the picós and picoteros technics and aesthetics - which paralleled the Jamaican developments on this field. These are among my favorite pages:

If the music originally played on these unreal sound systems came
from all over Africa (vinyl records being brought to Colombia by sailors), champeta has a particular connection with Congolese soukous - as mentioned by Elisabeth Cunin in her more recent essay:
"De Kinshasa à Cartagena, en passant par Paris : itinéraires d’une « musique noire », la champeta" (in Civilisations. Revue internationale d'anthropologie et de sciences humaines, Number 53, 2005, p. 97-117). So wait a minute: Colombian champeta originates in Congolese soukous, which derives from Cuban rumba (mixed with some Greek influence), rumba beats originating themselves from African music... Is that right? This continuous evolution based on travels and drifts across seas and through history makes the whole thing even more fascinating.

Picós played original versions of the songs but also covers by local Colombian bands and subsequent DJ mixes and remixes... Until today as picós are still pretty much a live reality that keeps on evolving all the time.

OK so now here comes the serious stuff (or more immediate food): the videos. Contemporary picós (or at least from just a few years ago) playing champeta. MCs toasting, street dancers moving while DJs spin soukous tunes. Rapid Casio SK5 keyboard drumpad fever on ecstatic congolese guitar solos. Dream music, heavy sound, serious street party vibes. Incredible mix. I think I played the first clip 100 times or something?!

Dairo Barriosnuevo)

Saludos a Magdalena!