Photo: Colectro

Colectro Brings ‘Coletera’ To The World

By | 22 March, 2012

An organic thing happened when six musicians from Barranquilla moved into an apartment in Bogota in 2005. Their like-minded musical tastes and interests made way for a new band, Colectro, that practices a form of musical expression dubbed coletera.

According to the band’s site, Coletera has its origins in the friars of the Order of the Augustinian Recollects, who smoked weed in an effort to understand the bible. They also gave me a shorter explanation:

“It’s a blend of music from the Caribbean coast and an ensemble of many tastes all emanating from the music and folklore from our land—the Caribbean. That’s the common thread among our band members—we go through life immersed in this music, using it as a language.”

The band’s newest video, Mahie (la mata que mata), is an ode to the creative muse behind coletera.

Mahie speaks of the woman who inspires us; that when a person wants to feel, enjoy and have fun—no matter what—they must engage in this good vibe with respect and without harm to others.”

The video for the fun, champeta-laced song features the muse (played by model Cindy Jimenez) enticing band members on a rumba-filled night throughout Bogota’s 7th Avenue with hints of Barranquilla’s carnival.

The lyrics are certainly “uplifting.”

Ay mi Mahie, tú me incitas, bien arriba y se me olvida el caminar
ay mi Mahie si me invitas no resistiría vámonos pa´l mar 
si me miras viajo a marte sin turbina con tu amor que es gasolina
infinita ve y hazme delirar

When asked about musical influences, the boys of Colectro cite quite the mix: jazz pianist Chick Corea, The Prodigy, James Brown and Michael Jackson, the Portuguese electronic band Buraka Som Sistema, and Paul Simon, among others.

Their Colombian influences are chock-full of greats such as Joe Arroyo, Diomedez Díaz, Pacho Galan and Irene Martinez.

“Basically all these pioneers of music in some way or another in their time marked new sounds and new musical expressions. When you hear the merecumbé created by Pacho Galan, you instantly hear the “rumbero” sound and we are talking about the 1950s here.”

The members of Colectro say their goal is to show the world—including those in their home city—the “other” side of Colombian music, which is blending the folkoric and indigenous music with a host of global sounds.

“When you hear [the song] “Coletera” or “Alza los pies,” we are paying tribute to the traditional and popular music, yet blending them with rock and electronic sounds to contextualize them in a contemporary way. But, and this is important for us, it still has the same taste ‘y el mismo vacilón.’

Colectro is currently competing in Hard Rock Rising, a global battle of the bands organised by Hard Rock in which the prize is a performance at the Hard Rock Calling Festival in Hyde Park, London.

In the meantime, you can stream their music on their website or check out videos on YouTube.


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