Diablos Del Ritmo – The Columbian Melting Pot 1960-1985 (Analog Africa)
2xCD /2xLP / DL
Out 12 November 2012

Ever wondered what Columbian music sounds like? Thought not, and neither had Paul Scott-Bates till he was sent an album chock full of such, whereupon he fell in love with it all. Here’s his review of said album.

I’ll be honest, this is a tough one to review. Not because I didn’t like it, but, because it really is so good. In fact, I’m pretty hard-pressed to single out any of the 32 tracks on this double cd. It is enthralling and entertaining and an absolute joy to listen to.

So, what do you get with Columbian music? I expected big trumpets and carnival and to be uplifted, and I wasn’t disappointed. I also got a bit of reggae, funk, jazz and even psychedelia!

There is a very strong African influence in the music of Columbia. How this happened is open to debate, but the current capital of Caribbean music, Barranquilla, was believed to be the port that accepted the initial influx of vinyl records from Africa. The founder of Analog Africa Records, Samy Ben Redjeb arrived in Barranquilla in 2007, bringing with him vinyl that collectors had long heard, but never owned. He traded with them and they later became part of carnival history.

This collection, centred around the 1970s with additions from the 60s and 80s, is cleverly split over two discs. Part 1 with Afrofunk, Psychedelia and Afrobeat, Part 2 contains much more of the tropical dance.

Columbian music is so full of life – big drums and percussive beats, screaming trumpets, and, bass piano sounds complimented by accordion.

If I was pushed to pick out a favourite, it would be Eco En Stereo by Sonara Dinamita (a group still performing Worldwide today). It starts, as its title may suggest, with voices shouting ‘Echo’, with a slow plodding drumbeat with accompanying guitar and piano. At almost two minutes, the music stops and a maniacal laugh prompts real action! The drumbeat is now upbeat, the piano and guitar now keeping up the pace with the addition of trumpet. Cracking stuff!

There’s also a fantastic 60 page booklet here with some great photos of the original record artworks and in-depth features and interviews, making this collection well worth a listen.

My advice? Go and buy it.

All words Paul Scott-Bates. Paul’s website (where this first appeared) is Heaven Is A Place On Pendle. Paul has been working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, easily one of the best radio shows on the BBC. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow his personal twitter, @hiapop.

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