Conceived by Colombian musician Mario Galeano, the force behind the band Frente Cumbiero, and English producer Will ‘Quantic’ Holland, Ondatrópica brings together an all-star cast representing both the classic and modern styles of la musica Colombiana. Released on 16th July on CD, 3xLP & download through Soundway Records.
Over 3 weeks in January 2012 at the famous Discos Fuentes studios in Medellín legendary figures from Colombian music joined a group of younger Colombian musicians that included members of both Mario’s band Frente Cumbeiro and Quantic’s Combo Barbaro. The plan; “to re-interpret the tropical musical heritage of Colombia with new approaches in composition, arrangement and production in a classic and mythical setting.”
For the recording Will and Mario invited musicians that they felt had made a particularly important contribution to the history of tropical music in Colombia. Michi Sarmiento, crowned the Godfather of Ondatrópica during the recording process, sounds as at home playing on the drunken Black Sabbath cover ‘I Ron Man’ as he does on 'El Caiman y Gallenazo', a song penned by his father.
Multi-instrumentalist Fruko, the prodigy of the Fuentes Studio and one of the top progressive minds of the 70s got so involved that he joined the project for much longer than originally planned, and even ended up preparing desserts and fruit salads for the large group of musicians that had been assembled in the studio.
The Barranquilla-based accordion-playing don and singer Anibal Velasquez also joined the recording for two days. Another of the 42 musicians involved was octogenarian pianist Juancho Vargas who came straight from hospital to the studio to record ‘Cumbia Espacial’.
A mixture of well known and classic Colombian styles such as cumbia, porro, gaita and champeta clash head-on with boogaloo, ska, beat-box, hip hop, dub and funk. The tracks range from straight-up timeless pieces with one foot in the 1960s and 70s to progressive and forward-looking recordings firmly rooted in the 21st century. Mario and Will also adopted a 100% analogue recording approach in tribute to a sound and feel that the studio had been lacking for some years now.
Chilean MC Ana Tijoux takes the microphone for ‘Suena’, the melody line an ode to the major-key sound of 60s Sabanero cumbias. El Chongo, a young percussionist and beatboxer from the Caribbean city of Cartagena features on ‘Rap Maya’, a sound-clash with 82-year old gaita player Pedro Ramaya.
Soundway’s exploration into Colombian music began in 2007 with it’s much acclaimed compilation ‘Colombia! The Golden Age of Discos Fuentes The Powerhouse of Colombian Music 1960-76’. That compilation features many original works from the above-mentioned artists as well as some of the main session men of the day that also played on this new record. It's fitting then that Ondatrópica came together in the legendary Discos Fuentes studios in Medellín.