Diablos del Ritmo: The Colombian Melting Pot 1960-1985 (Analog Africa/ November 12 2012)
By Helena Cantone
Diablos del Ritmo is a collection of exquisite, rhythmically charged and sometimes raw music from Colombia that is full of surprises and does not disappoint.
These two albums provide a truly electrifying (or should I say funkifying) journey across musical styles and decades, showcasing the rich diversity of the country and its close affinity to Africa and the African Diaspora. Puya, porro, gaita, cumbiambe, mapelé and chandé intertwine with Afro-beat, Afro-funk, psychedelia, terapia, bass-driven palenque and hints of jazz.
This anthology has been meticulously selected by Analog Africa founder Samy Ben Redjeb, who arrived in Colombia’s vibrant port city of Barranquilla back in 2007 armed with a load of African vinyl records to exchange for Colombia’s most popular but little known sounds of the 70s. The impact of this exchange was significant on both sides. Colombian music collectors finally got to know the names of the African songs and musicians they had loved, played and remixed for the past 30 years, and Redjeb received the insider’s knowledge of Colombian music that he had only dreamed of.
The album sheds light on the important role Colombian music collectors have in the country’s cultural life, with its vibrant sound systems and the prominence of Carnival, when each DJ showcases their music collection in a fierce competition to be crowned the music king of year. The anthology is also a testament of Colombia’s African descendants, with the largest African population in South America after Brazil, as well as the influence and exchange between the black Atlantic and Africa that has pioneered new musical styles on both sides of the ocean.
Diablos del Ritmo is rhythmically infectious as the title suggests. It is, in other words, hot, hot, hot.