Where Salsa, Jazz and Funk Collide



The town of Timbiquí, the world Colombian singer Begner Vásquez grew up in, seemed more likely to deal him a fate of digging gold out of an illegal mine or send him into the crosshairs of his country’s armed conflict. But some things tilt history in your favor — like the record player Vásquez and his friends used to listen to in their small river town, a place tucked away and almost forgotten, a place buried in the thick jungle along Colombia’s Pacific coast. Population: 100. Continue reading on Ozy…

Monsieur Periné: Latin American Folk Meets Gypsy Swing



“I spent one whole year trying to convince the other band members we should dress up,” says Catalina García, lead singer for Monsieur Periné.

“But finally I got them to do it,” she told OZY, after Colombian designer Alejandra Rivas insisted that they all needed costumes.

Now, when the Bogotá. -based quartet performs, its outfits are eccentric and just as hard to define as its music. One minute it’s a poppy, bouncy, jazzy rhythm carrying lyrics in French, and the next, it’s slow, serene, passionate and all in Spanish. Continue reading on Ozy…


A Hole In The Drum: The Musicians From Buenaventura



The place smelled like rotten fish when I walked into my house that day, and a fat woman wearing a bandana was screaming – or maybe singing – at the top of her lungs. There were children and kids of every age. The younger ones played a rambunctious game of hide-and-go-seek that ran late into the evening. Every once in awhile you could hear the soft dance of mallets on the marimba or a palm strike a drum. But it sounded for only a moment, and then it faded it away.

Colombia’s Pacific port city Buenaventura is sinking in a human rights crisis. Awhile before the news started to break last week, a group of musicians from Buenaventura came to Bogotá and stayed at my boarding house – where I keep a room. I got to hear them play. It was a surprising encounter, and let me enter a world of Colombian life that rarely reaches the capital. Continue reading on Beacon…