Genre: Afro-tropical / Cumbia / Colombian music
Region: Medellin, Colombia
Artists’ Website: Ondatropica’s official site
Label: Soundway Records
Release Date: July, 16 2012
Afrocentric rhythms and tropical music are on the rise again, from afrobeat to cumbia, while other indigenous styles are gaining recognition like Puerto Rican bomba (check Hijos De Agueybana) or Angolan kizomba – undoubtedly Soundway records has put a great deal of work in ‘engineering’ this outburst. The same holds for some members of Ondatropica like masterminds Will ‘Quantic’ Holland and Frente Galeano.
This record is big in every sense, it can be already considered a cornerstone in the modern history of Colombian music. The production is totally analog with a warm vintage sound, without being stuck in the past – you can hear all those instruments like horns, percussions, accordion mixed so smoothly. The songs are one by one outstanding, merging all those styles like cumbia, porro, boogaloo, ska, hip hop, beat-box in a cohesive amalgam of afro-tropical sizzling madness where further categorisation is futile.
Members of Quantic’s band ‘Combo Barbaro’ and Mario’s ‘Frente Cumbiero’ joined forces with accomplished Colombian artists’ (singer Markkitos Micolta, trumpeter Jorge Gaviria, accordionist Anibal Velasquez etc.) as well as emerging ones like Chilean MC Ana Tijoux and beatboxer El Chongo. The collective recognizes no barriers between the ‘old guard’ and the fervent heartbeat of the contemporary youth; proof of that is that Ondatropica’s first gig took place in a lively squat in Bogota.
Apart from embracing the exquisite musical heritage of coastal Colombia in uncompromising latin songs like ‘Tiene Sabor, Tiene Sazon’ or ‘Linda Manana’ the collective delivers psychedelic cumbia in ‘Punkero Sonidero’, accordion-driven rapping on Latin American unity in ‘Suena’ and a vigorous ska anthem ‘Ska Fuente’ that would make even the Skatalites proud. We have heard numerable imaginative covers over the last years, bridging disparate styles but Ondatropica’s afro-tropical version of ‘Iron Man’ (Black Sabbath) stands well above all. This is an unsurpassed set of songs with depth, diversity and a shining host of skillful musicians (42 contributing artists!).
The album was recorded at the legendary studios of Discos Fuentes, the single most important music label of Colombia since 1934, in Medellin and the project has received support from the British Council and Radio Nacional de Colombia among others. Although Quantic has been exploring afro-latin music for years, especially after he moved to Cali, Colombia and built his own studio ‘Sonido Del Valle’ (check also Flowering Inferno and Combo Barbero), a project of such magnitude and musical quality can be no less impressive.
Discover more intriguing music from around the world at Freegan Kolektiva: