To "get on the wave" before recording his vocal shots, Joe Strummer, vocalist of The Clash, sank into the seat of his car and put a "pirate" cassette. There, the Colombian 'King of Cumbia', Andrés Landero, troubled the eardrums of this British punkero, born in Turkey. After the accordion beat, Strummer was ready.
The anecdote, told in a press article by Mario Galeano, co-leader of musical projects such as Ondatrópica and Frente Cumbiero, and one of those responsible for positioning the cumbia in the world, was confirmed by Jason Mayall, Strummer's personal friend and messenger of the porros de Pacho Galán and the Landero chords.
He, Mayall, was the one who addicted Strummer to Colombian folklore.
“Yes, he definitely loved that. I recorded a Landero cassette on my first trip to Colombia in 1990. When I returned I gave Joe a copy called 'The cumbiambero king' and, from that, now you can find Landero everywhere, ”says Mayall, who defines his transatlantic journeys under a premise: to rotate Colombian music among punkers wishing for new rhythms in an eclectic underworld.
“I was basically the only one who did this kind of thing,” says Mayall. I didn't find those sounds anywhere else. He went to Colombia and what he found brought him back to London. Then I played it at parties and festivals, and they just loved it. My friend Joe Strummer became a big fan and used to share music with his acquaintances. Thus he grew and grew. ”
Mayall and Strummer dedicated themselves to passing the “cumbiambero” testimony, which landed on the Scratchy record player. The British DJ said Joe "presented" the folk rhythms of the South American nation in the middle of the tours he performed with The Mescaleros, the band founded by Strummer in the post-Clash era and with which he played until the day of his death, December 22, 2002.
Scratchy recalled that in a posthumous tribute to Strummer, Andres Landero's airs were the first to sound in the background.
In his own way, Strummer's legacy was prolonged by other Britons such as William Holland (DJ Quantic), a musician who arrived in Colombia in 2007 attracted by the wide variety of long plays of long-time orchestras and West Indian orchestras recorded in the Golden era of the company Discos Fuentes.
“I went to Cali because I am a music lover and LP record collector – Holland says. That city has a reputation for preserving excellent salsa and Antillean music acetates (a mixture of African rhythms fused with folklore from the West Indian region and the Caribbean Sea). When I arrived, the environment of the tropics and its culture hit me very much, so I decided to settle down, despite the fact that the country was living a complex social reality, crossed by deep contrasts between conflict and joy. That mix between the rhythms that permeated everyday life, plus the value of its people, was definitive for my stay here. ”
Once settled in the country, Quantic knew that there would enhance its musical spectrum. “I had an interest in soul and funk, but I also listened to African music, I was educated with those rhythms. When I arrived in the Colombian Pacific I recognized some musical influences from Nigeria and Ghana that were familiar to me in some way. The peaceful culture preserves African rhythms that are characterized by very own songs that speak of their landscapes, animals and food ”.
In this environment Quantic met melodies that, although alien to the social context of northern England, were associated with a musical current that he knew: the northern soul of the United Kingdom, characterized by its pronounced tones and black roots.
This training with influences of soul, funk, dub and punk, strengthened by the encounter with native cadences of the Pacific, was the initiation for Quantic and for figures such as Richard Blair, the shaman of the West Indian electronic who worked , among others, with Carlos Vives on his album 'The land of oblivion', as well as for Peter Gabriel, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Alejandra Gómez (Chonta DJ), cultural manager who works with Los Pirañas and Sidestepper, said that “for them it is particularly cool” to recognize the character of the Colombian southwest because they grew up in the scene of Bristol (city in the southwest of England), loaded with the Massive Attack and trip hop wave; and with the Notting Hill Carnival in London, related to reggae and ska.
The crossing of genres, Gómez revealed, shows particular similarities that Colombian music has with punk and Jamaican music.
"Without there being a direct relationship in music, there are approaches between punk and Caribbean music," Gomez explained. Both contain very strong melodic anchors based on the repetition and the "call and response" choirs, which are easy to memorize for those who listen to them. "
“In attitude, I think that in the lyrics and personalities of artists such as Lisandro Meza, Diomedes Díaz, La Niña Emilia, Abelardo Carbonó, and even the Pacific as Los Balanta, there is much of that culture that would answer, rebellious and full of humor. Of complicated lives that become a song with popular imagination, ”he added.
On the other hand, for this cultural manager “there is closeness between the melodies of the joints and the songs of the great tropical orchestras with the most prototypical music of reggae and ska from Jamaica and the United Kingdom”.
Therefore, and although it seems absurd, it is natural for that group of English friends to hear joints.
Precisely, with the work of Holland, Blair and Mayall, together with the management of public culture institutes such as the British Council, links were created that placed national artists – in many cases originating from small towns – in large stages of the world. In addition, as ChambimbeDJ noted, the value of Colombian vernacular traditions was rescued.
“At some point the value of the peasant narrative is being lost because there is a human tendency, not only in this country, but in the world, which seeks to simplify everything through urban consumerism. In that sense, when we think of legends from different disciplines such as Pelé or Gabriel García Márquez, not to go too far, it is clear that they come from small towns that many consider insignificant. We must save that respect for the root narrative, because it contains gigantic wisdom and value, ”concluded Holland.
In honor of the above, the singer Nidia Góngora, Quantic, ChambimbeDJ, Jason Mayall (Cumbia Kid) and Chonta DJ will meet on Thursday night in the framework of the Petronio Álvarez Pacific Music Festival to celebrate a sound mixing and cultural that Strummer, wherever he is, will enjoy himself as he did in his car owned by Landero.
2019-08-15T10: 26: 35-05: 00
2019-08-15T10: 26: 35-05: 00
The dialogue between British punk, Colombian folklore and electronics