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Every month I try to find interesting artistic proposals from musicians that are either well established or making their way in the Colombian and Latin American musical landscape. Last month I chose 3 of my favorite Colombian artists and their previous works, as an introduction. Works I consider classics.
My favorite songs aren't necessarily brand spanking new, but they do need to be original and, in some way or another, significant. For July I chose 3 songs that are all very different from each other. One of the songs is one that I loved from the second I heard it 5 years ago and it continues to amaze me to this day. The other two songs are completely different. One is melancholic, lyrically and musically rich, and the other is just plain fun and catchy.
For the past years there is one name that stands out in the crowd in terms of originality and social content in their lyrics. For this month I decided to add not only my favorite tunes for July, but also one my favorite songs from all time: Calle 13 with 'Latinoamérica'.
I've been following the Porto-Rican duo for years now and I can shamelessly declare myself a fan. Being a musician myself I've always had a special admiration for artists that are socially engaged. ‘Latinoamérica' has become no less than an anthem for Latin America, and includes social, political, cultural and historical aspects of the continent. René Perez - or Residente - also references to several Latin American treasures, for example Gabriel García Marques' 'Amor en los Tiempos del Cólera', 'Love in the time of Cholera'. This song also features Colombian folk singer Toto La Momposina.
What is also striking about ‘Latinoamérica' is the video directed by Jorge Carmona and Milovan Radovic. Breathtaking images of the continent and its people. It's definitely worth watching. Enjoy!
Calle 13 // Latinoamérica
Soy lo que dejaron,
soy toda la sobra de lo que se robaron.
Un pueblo escondido en la cima,
mi piel es de cuero por eso aguanta cualquier clima.
Soy una fábrica de humo,
mano de obra campesina para tu consumo
Frente de frio en el medio del verano,
el amor en los tiempos del cólera, mi hermano.
El sol que nace y el día que muere,
con los mejores atardeceres.
Soy el desarrollo en carne viva,
un discurso político sin saliva.
soy la fotografía de un desaparecido.
Soy la sangre dentro de tus venas,
soy un pedazo de tierra que vale la pena.
soy una canasta con frijoles,
soy Maradona contra Inglaterra anotándote dos goles.
Soy lo que sostiene mi bandera,
la espina dorsal del planeta es mi cordillera.
Soy lo que me enseño mi padre,
el que no quiere a su patria no quiere a su madre.
Soy América latina,
un pueblo sin piernas pero que camina.
I am what they left behind,
I am the leftovers of what they've stolen.
A hidden town in the summit,
My skin is of leather that's why it withstands any weather.
I am a smoke factory,
Peasant labour for your consumption
Cold front in the middle of summer,
Love in the time of cholera, my brother!
I'm the sun that rises and the day that dies,
with the best sunsets.
I am the development in raw flesh,
a political speech without saliva.
The most beautiful faces I have ever met,
I am the picture of a missing person.
I am the blood in your veins,
I am a piece of land which is worthy
I am a basket with beans,
I am Maradona against England scoring two goals.
I am what supports my flag,
The planet's spine is my mountain range
I am what my father taught me,
Whoever doesn't love their country doesn't love their mother
I am Latin America,
A nation without legs but still walking.
The Colombian Marta Gomez was born in Girardot, Cundinamarca, and was raised in Cali. Marta graduated Magna Cum Laude from her music studies from the Berklee College of Music, quite an achievement. She's as extraordinary singing as she is writing songs where she skilfully brings her poetic lyrics and interesting compositions together.
Like Calle 13, Marta Gomez is no newcomer. She's been spreading her beautiful music for over 14 years, yet her music continues to be incredibly relevant and moving. What strikes me most about her songwriting is how she manages to perfectly blend nostalgia and poetic elements while remaining completely authentic and original. Her voice reminds us of the great Violeta Parra, one of the, if not the best female singer-songwriter Latin America has ever known. Songs that sound like childhood bedtime stories, light, and beautiful, but still shake us to the core.
Listen to 'Este Instante', which is also the title of her album released in 2014.
Marta Gomez - Este Instante
Yo voy a tocarte y a inventarme un gesto para ti
Yo voy a esperarte en este abrazo antes de partir
Y al mirarte recordaré esa voz, tu voz
Y al mirarte reconoceré algo de los dos… Ale….Ale…
I will touch you and invent a gesture just for you
I will wait for you in this embrace before I leave
And when I look at you I'll remember that voice, your voice
And when I look at you I'll recognise something that's ours
Pedrina y Rio is a completely different vibe. The duo from Bogotá is an eclectic mix of electronic music mixed with latin pop. They are an up and coming band that is more and more popular everyday. It's not a completely new sound, and her voice sounds a lot like Natalia Lafourcade.
Last year they released a 16 minute long EP called Flora. My favorite song of the EP is Enamorada; an upbeat, catchy and fun song about a 15 year-old girl that falls head over heels with a boy. It actually sounds more like an obsession rather than a crush, not uncommon when you fall in love at 15... Their style is kitsch and a bit odd, but fun nonetheless. Check them out!
Pedrina y Rio // Enamorada
Quiero decirte que te quiero
que yo por ti voy muy en serio
ya me he pensado presentar
con un anillo a tu papá
tu mano no podrá negar
I want to tell you that I love you
That I'm very serious about you
I've thought of introducing myself,
With a ring to your father
Your hand will not be able to deny