Wednesday, March 9, 2011

CARTAGENA!-Curro Fuentes and The Big Band... (Soundway Records, 2011)

Quantic keeps digging Colombia, and he seems to be sitting on top of an infinite uncharted pile of gold. 
If there's someone in the world I envy right now that is Quantic. Living in Colombia while making well deserved Euros in the Northern Hemisphere is a good formula to get by, combine this with the proper knowledge, contacts and experience and that's it, you're the Pablo Escobar of music. 
From an international perspective, Quantic is doing more for Colombian traditional music than any Colombian musician or music historian could've dreamt of doing. I mean, he's got the attention of the first world taste-makers, the DJ's and the beat diggers, who otherwise wouldn't probably be listening to this type of music. 
Just a few months ago I was happy to find out the Quantic Presents Tropical Funk Experience on Nascente Records and while I was still exploring that one now I'm shocked to find yet another comp of reissues co-signed by the acclaimed British producer/digger: Cartagena!
Cartagena! Is a very peculiar comp of reissues because it focuses on the career of one artist, Curro Fuentes, youngest of the Discos Fuentes' dynasty. Curro did not transcend to popular notoriety as other cumbia big names did, but was influential in spreading this particular sound of big band cumbia where the accordion was replaced by brass arrangements emulating cuban music, particularly the descargas (jams). This is the style of cumbia that was later popularized (particularly in Mexico) by Discos Fuentes' flagship band La Sonora Dinamita, with a much cheesier, radio-friendly approach. But thanks to this compilation we can find the actual roots of that fusion of styles from several bands where Curro contributed. 
Thanks to Soundway, this amazing music is also available on double LP vinyl. It's probably gonna cost me an arm and a leg, but if I see one around no doubt I'll get it. 

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