New sounds from Bogotá

November 2008 -

Ana Romano's latest work así, de repente (2007) starts with a tone moving in the stereo field almost matching the background hum of Bogotá. It then develops into a soothing sweet mesh of sine waves overlaid by recorded sounds of things being played. In her work, Romano explores instances in which a performance triggers an audience's relationship with its surroundings. She is a leading example of a new generation of musicians and composers springing up in this South American metropolis, bracing themselves with the diversity and wealth of Colombia's folk music.

La Districtofonica collective best illustrates how the city's upcoming musicians are putting up a good fight for their own place in the sun. Following the footsteps of groups such as Curupira and folk musicians like Hugo Candelário and Toto La Monposina, the collective has generated exciting new projects that try to fuse with success folk elements of local traditional music with Jazz, Rock and experimental music. Asdrubal, Primero Mi Tia, Ricardo Gallo Quarteto and Eblis Alvarez, aka Meridian Brothers, have been making waves in the alternative circuits of Bogotá, releasing albums under their own label.

In another corner of the music spectrum is producer Juan Pablo Bedoya, aka Monk, with his deep house trip-hop project featuring the enchanting voice of Natalia Miranda. A survey of new underground sounds spreading across Bogotá would not be completed without mentioning the inspirational work of Los Aterciopelados. Fascinatingly, their recent album Conector draws inspiration from the yaguê (and its ceremonies), a shamanic psychotropic potion prepared from a mix of sacred plants from the Putumayo rain forest. Wearing his collars of animal teeth and a hair band of colourful feathers, the Taita guides the voyage through the night with a constant rhythm performed with a kind of shaker instrument made of palm tree leaves. When the effect from the potion starts, the penetrating buzzing sound of the yaguê spirit approaches.