Colombian Electro Dub Pioneers Monareta to Release New Album24 September, 2010
Monareta are set to release Fried Speakers on October 12th via Nacional Records. It’s the follow-up to the critically acclaimed Picotero which featured in a number of high profile US shows such as “Pride & Glory” (Warner Pictures) and “Ugly Betty” (ABC). It marks something of a successful year for the band, who have also played all over South America, North America and Europe.
With their new album, Monareta elevate their exploration of dub and cumbia sounds to the next level. “On Fried Speakers, we head deep into the genre of rocksteady, paying tribute to the Jamaican icon Alton Ellis, who passed away recently,” says lead vocalist/guitarist Andres Martinez. “We also experimented with styles like merecumbe, which is an awesome fusion of cumbia and the Dominican genre merengue. Our recording process now involves an in-studio drummer, Sergio Medina, and I’ve also been putting the guitars into over-drive, re-discovering my post-punk days of the 90s.”
“The overall concept is similar to Picotero, Martinez continues. “A balance of lyrical and instrumental songs with the goal of making an album that can serve as a soundtrack for any road, sea, jungle… or city. Inspiration for sounds on the album range from fish frying on a pan to a crazy distorted speaker and a freaky human to the vibrations of the Walls of Jericho.”
Different aspects of the sea play a large role throughout Fried Speakers. “The tracks “El Combate del Parlante” and “Hotel Eskal” are inspired by the lives of two close friends of the band that have what we consider to be one of the most admirable professions: fishermen,” Martinez says. “Every morning, these guys set out for the fight of their life.”
Martinez attributes particular Spanish influence to the two tracks “Las Rutas del Mar” and “Gitana Llorana.” “”Las Rutas del Mar” was inspired by an old love that I had when I was living in the coastal city of Valencia, Spain,” he explains. “I felt sort of trapped in the space within the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic, and Pacific coasts. There are such strong currents, yet nowhere to really get to.”
“”Gitana Llorana” digs back into history, tracing the adventures of the first cantadores ida y vuelta, Spanish gypsies who came to the original Colombian colony,” Martinez says. “When they returned to Spain, they had created a new flamenco style called Colombiana. This song pays tribute to that era.”
Songs like title track “Fried Speaker” and “Arrastrado” were developed and recorded in live studio jams between the group’s studios in Bogota and Brooklyn. The intent was to capture the raw energy and atmospheric sounds of the space.
Monareta is at once intelligent and danceable—a unique fusion of styles refined over several years since Martinez started mixing break beats and hip hop flows with live keyboard performances with Camilo Sanabria. The duo became popular in clubs and electronic music festivals throughout their hometown of Bogotá. Once Monareta had begun to develop their sound, Martinez received a Fulbright scholarship to pursue a Master of Arts in composition and film scoring at New York University. He moved from Bogotá to New York City and immersed himself in the local experimental music scenes. Monareta found an especially receptive crowd in Brooklyn and Martinez integrated what he was learning with his studies into the group’s cinematic sound.
Taking their name from the brand of BMX bike they rode avidly as kids, Monareta make music that is influenced by a lot of what was cool to them in those formative years. “Growing up, even as young as 11, I was really involved in the local freestyle street bike scene,” Martinez says. “All the street bikers in Colombia were heavily influenced by the break dance and electric boogaloo arriving from the U.S. We heard groups like the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy and they completely changed our lives. And so that’s how we got the name for our group: It’s a homage to the 80s break dance, hip hop, BMX and the fashion scene that came from abroad to influence us in South America.”
Follow Sounds and Colours: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Mixcloud / Soundcloud / Bandcamp
Subscribe to the Sounds and Colours Newsletter for regular updates, news and competitions bringing the best of Latin American culture direct to your Inbox.