Tag Archives: Afro-Colombian

South American Afro-Pacific Band Rio Mira to Perform at The ArtsCenter

Much-admired South American ensemble Rio Mira is set to perform at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro, North Carolina. The concert is part of an American tour that includes music venues and world music festivals.

Rio Mira is a marimba and vocals led ensemble formed by top musicians from Ecuador and Colombia to draw attention to the music of the El Pacífico region along the Pacific coasts of the two countries. Taking its name from the river which runs from Ecuador into Colombia, Rio Mira’s music pays tribute to the coastal city of Esmeraldas and its role in the Afro-Pacific diaspora.

El Pacífico was a refuge for cimarrones, enslaved persons who escaped shipwrecked ships or plantations. Over time, the region’s unique marimba music incorporated the cimarrones’ Afro-Pacific identity as well as West African traditions they had preserved. Today, UNESCO recognizes the music (along with associated chants and dances) as Intangible Cultural Heritage.

At the center of this music, and of Rio Mira’s sound, is the marimba, made of chonta palm wood. The marimba performs both melodic and rhythmic roles in the music and tells the story of its own Bantu roots.

Renowned percussionists Esteban Copete, who is Afro-Colombian, and Larri Preciado, who is Afro-Ecuadorian, bring to their performances a deep knowledge of this folkloric tradition as well as a willingness to engage with new directions and soundscapes to expand the sonic palette of the group. The group also includes Ecuadorian vocalist Karla Kanora and a group of superb percussionists.

Rio Mira – Marimba Del Pacifico

Rio Mira has an album titled Marimba Del Pacifico (Aya Records).

The ArtsCenter is located at 300-G E. Main Street in Carrboro. Box Office at (919) 929-2787.


Black Atlantic Music Festival at Duke University

Duke Performances will present a Black Atlantic, a captivating six-day world music festival, celebrating the music of Africa and the African diaspora. The festival takes place the last week of March 2018 at several venues in Durham, North Carolina .

The extraordinary program includes some of the finest artists from Africa and the Caribbean. The festival opens with acclaimed traditional Dominican bachata musician Joan Soriano. Next is one of Haiti’s top female performers, singer-songwriter Emeline Michel.

Afro-Venezuelan vocalist Betsayda Machado and her backing band La Parranda El Clavo are one of the sensations in the world music scene.

Mali produces an impressive amount of high quality talent. Trio da Kali is one of the new stars of the Malian scene. It’s a collaboration between some of Mali’s leading jeli (griot) musical families, Hawa Kassé Mady, daughter of Kassé Mady Diabaté; bala player Lassana Diabaté; and ngoni master Mamadou Kouyaté.

Honduran composer, singer-songwriter and activist Aurelio (Aurelio Martínez) is currently the most influential Garifuna artist. Aurelio will be presenting his new album Darandi released on Peter Gabriel’s Real world Records.

Aurelio – Darandi


The last concert of Black Atlantic will present flamenco star Diego El Cigala with top salsa musicians. His most recent album Indestructible is a tribute to salsa music.


Diego El Cigala – Indestructible


Black Atlantic Schedule

Joan Soriano (Dominican Republic)
Monday, March 26, 2018 at 20:00 (8:00 p.m.)
Motorco Music Hall


Joan Soriano



Emeline Michel (Haiti)
Tuesday, March 27, 2018 at 20:00 (8:00 p.m.)
Motorco Music Hall

Emeline Michel



Betsayda Machado y La Parranda El Clavo (Venezuela)
Wednesday, March 28, 2018 at 20:00 (8:00 p.m.)
Motorco Music Hall


Betsayda Machado y La Parranda El Clavo



Trio da Kali (Mali)
Thursday, March 29, 2018 at 20:00 (8:00 p.m.)
Motorco Music Hall

Trio da Kali



Aurelio (Honduras)
Friday, March 30, 2018 at 20:00 (8:00 p.m.)
Motorco Music Hall

Aurelio Martinez in 2010 at Forde Festival in Norway – Photo by Angel Romero


Diego El Cigala (Spain/Dominican Republic)
Saturday, March 31, 2018 at 20:00 (8:00 p.m.)
Carolina Theatre of Durham

Diego El Cigala



For more information or tickets go to: dukeperformances.duke.edu


Artist Profiles: La cumbiamba eNeYé

La cumbiamba eNeYé

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


Savagely Hip M.A.K.U. Soundsystem

M.A.K.U. Soundsystem – Mezcla (Glitterbeat Records, 2016)

Done your stretches? Done your deep breathing exercises? Well, you’re going to need them when you get an earful of the eight-member, New York City based group M.A.K.U. Soundsystem’s Mezcla set for release on May 27th on the Glitterbeat Records label.

With a ferocious sound that comes with a bite and a message with an even bigger bite, M.A.K.U. Soundsystem whips up a mix of Colombian and Afro-Colombian with dashes of funk, Afrobeat, jazz and hip-hop thrown in for good measure. Savagely kickass, Mezcla rips the bindings of polite recordings in favor a live sounding recording all the while examining the immigrant experience.

The group’s bassist and singer Juan Ospina explains, “They’re putting their lives at risk to come to El Norte, but the borders they cross have all been created by man. Look down from space and you won’t see them.

This message is apparent as Mezcla’s liner notes dedicate the album to “The Everyday People of all races and backgrounds, [e]specially to those who find within their spirit the strength to outgrow the hardship inside themselves to promote a positive life for all amidst the wickedness of the few who constantly rule this world to turmoil and despair.”

So, take that, tyrants!

Filling out M.A.K.U. Soundsystem is drummer and backing vocalist Andres Jimenez; electric guitarist and backing vocalist Camilo Rodriguez; keyboardist and synth player Felipe Quiroz; clarinetist and saxophonist Isaiah Richardson Jr.; electric bassist and lead vocalist Juan Ospina; tambora and maracon player, percussionist and lead vocalist Liliana Conde; tambor alegre player, percussionist and backing vocalist Moris Canate; and trombonist Robert Stringer.

Thrilling and electrifying fans from the opening “Agua” with its sizzling blend of percussion, brass and keyboards, M.A.K.U. Soundsystem makes short work of drawing listeners in with offerings like the uninhibitedly wild “Thank You Thank You,” the savagely cool Afro-Colombian percussion of “Let It Go” and the sultry “Positivo.”

Some reviewers have called the music “raw” and “gritty,” but for those looking for an authentic, non-overproduced recording Mezcla is the real deal. That often sought after live performance energy comes across loud and clear on Mezcla. Other goodies include the fun filled “La Inevitable,” the sassy bright “La Haitiana” and infectiously danceable “Happy Hour.”

Mr. Ospina says, “We try to keep it human, to give people something they can relate to.”

The brightly colored music of M.A.K.U. Soundsystem’s Mezcla is savagely hip and restlessly sharp so you still have time to build up your stamina before May 27th.

Buy Mezcla in North America

Buy Mezcla in Europe