Visionary Black Music from Colombia

Was' up my people!!! Palenque Records comin' back attcha with some African ashé ; happy and proud to bring you Afro-Colombian music from the Caribbean coast- Champeta Criolla. This is the new musical universe created by blacks from my locombian land: African guitar with voices from the hood, Latin Soukous, Afro-American Highlife, tropical mariguano Afro-beat, Soweto Cumbia…in other words, a wild mix of music- no passports please…
Dear melody-maniacs, Champeta is the most explosive rhythm out of the Caribbean's belly since the end of the century, and it's rewriting the "New Testament of Afro-American music".

40 years ago, crazy sailors coming from Africa arrived in Cartagena, bringing with them albums bought during their shameless nights of folly. This was stuff like the celestial music of Prince Nico Mbarga (Cameroon-Nigeria), the Oriental Brothers (Nigeria), Tabu Ldy Rochereau & Mbilia Bell du Congo, and a long list of the "Highlife Master Messagers", who made music both feet firmly rooted in the Earth, near the spirits of the ancestors. Thanks to these anonymous travelers, and to the vitality of my Afro-Colombian brothers who have made African music the rhythm of their hearts, in less than 10 years Colombia has become the "Soukous Republic of America". Today, these African stars provide major inspiration for thousands of youth who dream of forming their own groups to play Soukous and Highlife in the streets of my great country.

Sound systems are the musical conservatories of marginal suburbia. They are the University of African History for hundreds of young champetuos…the true "Papa Sabor" of all the boyz-in-tha-hood, the future U-Roys, Big Youths or Beenie Man of Colombia inspired by these giant machines of bestial sound to change the direction of our street music…Yeah…white man, as I told you!! Locombia is not what you think!!!

Who were those pioneers of Champeta, the first searchers to have found a dose of this most perfect mix?? It all started in the 70's, during the Golden Age of the Colombian Hippy mouvement, with the creation of the group "Wganda Kenya", directed by the Salsa-King, Fruko. This group wrote several pages in the anthology of our modern Evangile with their incredibly feverish Afrobeat (listen to Champeta Criolla Vol. 1). Their records were a burning deluge of Haitian, African and Latin music united at 1 000 000˚C.

A few years later Joe Arroyo arrived with his "La Verdad" orchestra. It took over and continued the exploration with a fusion of Salsa, Soukous & Haitian Compas. Today, even if only a few admit it, Joe is the King of Champeta Criolla par excellence, because all of his inspiration comes from African music. He grew up in the streets singing the African melodies "El Gran Conde" played. He is son of the Sound System…

However, the irrefutable fathers of this music are the black maroons from the San Basilio village of Palenque, near Carthagena. Viviano Torres with his group Anne Swing, Justo Valdes & Son Palenque, the group Kussima with Hernan Hernandez…Without them, this musical movement would not exist today.

Colombia does not have the monopoly on Champeta. Simultaneously in other countries, other creators, inspired by the same fire, have leapt into the ring: Juan Luis Guerra from the Dominican Republic, genius of Merengue-Soukous, Ricardo Lemvo (Congo-Kinshasa) with his African Salsa, "Batata y su Rumba Palenquera (Colombia), a new group offering a Cumbia-Afrobeat fusion. Without knowing each other, all of these artists have been working in the same direction to transform African and American music into some serious Zouk!! (A none-stop party.) They are all major constellations in our musical universe. They are all Champeta Kings, even without knowing it.

Champeta Vol. 2 (y mas na'!!!)- For real motherfuckers

In 1998, was born the label Palenque Records with its first album, "Champeta Criolla- New African Music From Colombia- Vol. 1". It was the first Champeta record published outside the frontiers of our Caribbean. This production had great success in France, USA, Germany, Spain…Today, after 2 years of intense musical and cinematic work, we are coming back with this production, "Champeta Criolla Vol. 2- Visionary Black Music From Colombia"- a new stone in the pyramidal construction of our underground Afro-Colombian sound.

For this adventure, Palenque Records has called in two world champions of box known by all: MC IBA, an African music guru in France, and Lucas Silva, Colombian traveler, film-maker and musical director, better known in the ghetto streets as "Super Champeta-Man". To sum it all up, two warriors of black music, scientists of the "vacile efectivo" ("maximum enjoyment" in champetuo slang),that never compromise when it comes to the fight.

This compilation unites 17 titles, produced and recorded by the architects of the Champetuo sound of Carthagena: the famous Chawala, selector for the Rey De Rocha Sound System, Yamiro Marin, musical producer, the celebrated Dr. Jekill & Mr, Hyde, king of Nigerian music in Colombia, Luis Garcia and Alvaro Cuellar, mixers, and all the singers and other musicians incessantly working to construct this musical tower of Babel.

Listen to the sounds of a new country, being built even as I write these lines. An African- Colombia rising beautifully on the ruins of our colonial past.

What's Comin': More Colombian Voodoo System

Palenque Records will always be around, with an ear locked onto all the Caribbean Sound Systems in order to bring you the most inspired music from the streets, all the streets of the Latino ghetto. In these Colombian streets, abandoned to God and the Devil, musicians the size of John Lee Hooker, Compay Segundo, King Sunny Ade, and Miles Davis walk the streets in total anonymity… living with nothing, in misery!!!!

Our task is long and hard. We are constructing, on the ruins of colonialism, the edifice of our Latino-Black-World music. We are constantly voyaging through new and risky territories; in a magnificent and crazy Safari across "savage" planets. Our Land-Rover jeep is encrusted with mud and surrounded by ferocious beasts: loud-speakers making the entire forest tremble, beautiful creatures straight out of our dreams… They are all the inhabitants of the new musical world we are trying to invent, trying to support through our modest discography efforts.

In our travels, we rediscover America everyday. Because we are Latino-Afro-Americans, we will always have something new to discover…And from each new experience, we bring back new inspiration for our writing of - as long as Oloddumare allows it- the New Testament of Afro-American Music.

Ashé Eleggua, ashé Orula, ashé Obatala, ashé Shango, ashé Oggun, ashé Yemaya & Ochun, ashé a todos los Orishas, a todos los niños de la simpatia--- pa'lante es pa'rriba & pa'rriba es pa'lante!!!

Lucas Silva-- Original Ifa Man


released January 20, 2016



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PALENQUE RECORDS is a label specialized in Afro-Colombian music, founded in 1998 by Lucas Silva Dj Champeta-Man. Since then, we have released many records and we have changed the face of afro-colombian music, with a fusion of modern and traditional sounds. Our releases go from the very traditional genres of music, until the most modern and afro -electro beats. ... more

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