La cumbiamba eNeYé is an ensemble that performs concerts and workshops with traditional instruments from the African Diaspora in Colombia, as well as indigenous and European instruments and influences. All these are mixed together in the traditional musical styles that developed throughout the colonial era, and continue to evolve. “eNeYé” has the range of versatility to perform from a quintet format, for reduced space events; up to a 10-piece band format for large events.
La cumbiamba eNeYé was created in the summer of 2000 with a group of skilled musicians who share an enthusiasm for investigating, performing and advancing musical expressions emanating from the combination of African, Indigenous, and European cultural contributions in the Americas.
Initially, La cumbiamba eNeYé began performing a repertoire of cumbia related rhythms outdoors in different public areas of New York City. Given these circumstances, “Eneyé” adopted its denomination of ‘cumbiamba’ from the cultural vocabulary of the northwestern Caribbean coast in South America. In Colombia, ‘cumbiamba’ is a familiar word, which carries the meaning of an outdoors celebration with live cumbia music, or the bands that perform in such events. La cumbiamba eNeYé evokes this lively atmosphere with every performance, and has also extended them into different cultural venues throughout the city and beyond.
La cumbiamba eNeYé’s musical work and development is shaped by traditional styles that emanate from the popular coastal traditions in which music is just one of the various artistic manifestations. The group takes coastal music as a departing point and source of material not only because of the musical background of some of the members, but because coastal traditions in Colombia, as in other regions of the Caribbean are inexhaustible fountains of artistic traditions. In Colombia having two different coastal regions, Atlantic and Pacific, which have led to distinct cultural traditions, doubles this situation.
La cumbiamba eNeYé’s approach to music is investigative. However, from the styles, genres, rhythms, and melodies explored, the group is inspired to create new arrangements and even entirely new compositions, which although traditional influenced, may have eclectic characteristics in texture, harmony or rhythm. This aspect of La cumbiamba eNeYé can be seen as the result of being a New York born and based group, where interactions and continuous contact with musicians from different places around the world generates new possibilities.
Since its beginnings, La cumbiamba eNeYé has been working from a handful of traditional kinds styles present in Colombia. Some of these musical styles are:
Gaitas y Tambores, Banda Pelayera, Terapia or Champeta, Conjunto de marimba, and Chirimía.
Marioneta (Chonta Records, 2006)
Web sites: http://www.lacumbiambaeneye.com
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.