Photo: Analog Africa

Review Diablos del Ritmo: The Colombian Melting Pot 1960-1985

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If you’re a new, intermediate, or hardcore fan of Colombian music, you’ll enjoy Diablos del Ritmo: The Colombian Melting Pot 1960-1985 by the Frankfurt-based Analog Africa record label. The double CD is an anthology of – and tribute to – the immense sound of 1970s Colombia.

Analog Africa’s Samy Ben Redjeb traveled to Barranquilla, the port city on Colombia’s Atlantic coast, in 2007, armed with several African records and a plan that he’d use them to trade for Colombian records he was after. Little did he know that the records would be a hit because of the impact they had on Barranquilla’s Carnival and the music emanating from the city itself in the 1970s.

Contemporary music collectors learned the real names of some of their favorite African songs thanks to Redjeb’s bounty and this exchange of records and music history eventually led to Diablos del Ritmo.

Though Redjeb collected thousands of records for this project, eventually he settled on 32 colourful tracks that appear on the double CD. There are a few from the 1960s and 1980s. The first disc contains Afrobeat, Palenque sounds, tropical funk, and terapia. The second has puya, porro, gaita, cumbiamba, mapalé, and chandé.

Another reason this album is a must-have for fans of Colombian music, is the 60-page booklet that comes with it. It’s like taking a university class, the booklet serving as a textbook complete with 40 vintage photographs. It’s also full of interviews and first-hand stories about how many of these records came to be. There’s also a bit on Redjeb’s travel to Colombia and how this anthology came to be.

If I had to pick a favourite track, without a doubt it would be “El Garabato” by Cumbia Soledeña. The track is synonymous with comparsas of children dancing at los carnavales! I’ve heard this song since I was a child and it always signifies a happy time of the year.

Another favorite is “Bajo el Trupillo Guajiro” by Sexteto Manaure, a spicy tropical number that sizzles. Of the Afrobeat selections, Wganda Kenya’s “El Caterete” is pure funk.

You can buy Diablos del Ritmo: The Colombian Melting Pot 1960-1985 from Amazon.

Listen to “Schallcarri” by Grupo Abharca, which can be found on disc one of Diablos del Ritmos, below.


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