Ondatrópica made its US debut at the Lincoln Center Out Of Doors Festival on July 27 and it was awesome, mostly because I was able to shoot photos right up front. Read Jon Pareles’ (New York Times) review of the show here.
This all-star band featured greats from the golden age of Colombian music including Michi Sarmiento, Alfredito Linares, Pedro Ramayá Beltran, Markitos Micolta and Wilson Vivero, alongside the two musicians who started this wonderful project, Will ‘Quantic’ Holland and Mario Galeano with their bands, Combo Barbaro and Frente Cumbiero.
I got to meet the very humble Quantic as he was manning the merchandise table, where I purchased the band’s self-titled debut album. I told him that his “Original Sound of Original Cumbia” and “Cartagena!” CDs mean a lot to me because my dad loves them and they help to transport him back to Colombia at a time when it’s not easy for him to visit his beloved home country.
My dad has had Parkinson’s disease for more than 10 years now and is quite immobile. He is the person who introduced my brothers and I to Colombian music as he’d blast his records every Saturday when we were growing up. It’s why my younger brother started DJing at 14. It’s why my older brother and I are insane fans of la musica de la costa. It’s why this music is in our blood.
One of the things my dad misses most in life is dancing to the wonderful music from his home country. So I was very happy to tell Quantic his CDs are on REPEAT at my parents’ home in New Jersey. He can’t quite dance; but he sure can bop to it and occasionally digs out his maracas when doing so.
Now my dad will have the opportunity to experience this new Colombian sound. Ondatrópica fuses old with new to create a progressive sound which mixes traditional Colombian styles such as cumbia, gaita and champeta with boogaloo, ska, beat-box, MCs, dub and funk. And we were quite blown away when they played a song with bits of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” in it!