Mr. Mambo Jazz, Brazilian DJ and musical researcher with a focus on Latin, Caribbean and African rhythms, made us a playlist and explained the background behind each song – Listen on our mix cloud now!
La Niña Emilia – La Penca -La Pelea es Peleando (1985)
This was one of the great songs I discovered during my one-month trip to Colombia. Known by her iconic golden nails and black sunglasses, La Penca is the queen of the “bullerengue,” a style of music and dance from the caribbean coast of Colombia that is performed solely by women.
Guaracha UFO- Meridian Brothers – Desesperanza (2012)
The Meridian brothers were formed in 1998 in Bogotá, and are lauded as the creators of the Tropical Underground, boasting a 10 album discography. The guitarist Eblis Alvarez is the genius behind their mix of vallenato, cumbia, rock and salsa.
Yo Vouai Ou – Les Aiglons – Le Disque Des Vacances (1976)
Les Aiglons were a classic 70s band from Guadeloupe island, who were influenced by the Haitian music storming the Antilles islands from the late ‘50s to the early 80s. It’s impossible to listen to this and not feel a carnival vibe- you will want to dance until the sun rises.
Los Destellos -Para Elisa – Una Hora Con… Los Destellos (1985)
Los Destellos are the most important group of psychedelic cumbia artists from Peru. They are nicknamed ‘The University of Peruvian Cumbia,’ as over 90 musicians played in the band over its thirty-year life span. This cover of Beethoven’s Für Elise is the perfect tribute.
Super Mama Djombo – Dissan na Mbera – Super Mama Djombo (2003)
The Super Mama Djombo Orchestra had a lot of success in Guinea Bissau in the late ‘70s and ‘80s. Zé Manel, the drummer, is one of the most influential musicians of Guinea Bissau, a child prodigy who has played the drums and the guitar since he was seven years old. ‘Mama Djombo’ derives from the name of a spirit that many fighters appealed to for protection during Guinea-Bissau’s War of Independence.
Yiri Yiri Boum – Gnonnas Pedro -El Cochevivo (1981)
The singer and musician Gnonnas Pedro, who sings in more than five languages, is a star from Benin, who also performed in the long-lasting band Orchestre Poly-rythmo de Cotonou. He was also an excellent dancer. In this song, Yiri Yiri Boum, you can hear the influence of salsa, afrobeats and samba-like rhythms.
Água Viva – Pedro Santos -Krishnanda (1968)
Krishnanda is one of the most experimental Brazilian albums. Pedro Santos was a percussionist who made his own instruments, and also played and recorded with famous artists such as Gal Costa and Caetano Veloso. In this song you can hear the different instruments he used, and the sound of running water.
A Bailar Comachera – Pinduca -Seleção de Ouro (1978)
Last but not least, Aurino Quirino, the artist behind Pinduca, started his musical career at just fourteen years old. He was one of the first musicians to revolutionise the regional music from the Brazilian state of Pará and create radio hits. Aurino Quirino is indefatigable, still actively touring round brazil an adding to his huge discography.
Photo credits: Jornal O Globo, Caracol, Splinters & Candy, Listen Recovery, VOA News, Youtube, Opovo