Photo by Maria Elisa Duque
Will Holland is English, but his music as Quantic is deeply influenced by cumbia. Enter Mario Galeano, a self-styled “cumbia activist” who has sought to bridge a number of cultural divides in his native Colombia. Four years ago, the pair cooked up Ondatrópica, a revolving cast of diverse musicians separated by nationality, race, and age. But together, the band makes inventive, insistent music that’s traditionally-rooted while still irreverent (check out their cover of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man,” rendered as “Me Rum Man” in Spanish).
For Baile Bucanero, Ondatrópica’s second album, the group ballooned to 35 members and recorded on Providence Island, which has British, African, and Spanish history. Fittingly, calypso and soca sounds bubble up throughout the record, even in the mainland-set “Bogotá.” Seventy-nine-year-old saxophone player and band leader Michi Sarmiento first wrote the song in the early ’70s, but now it gets its recorded debut. Tropical influences blend with an irresistible cumbia beat, all while a psychedelic undertow drenches the capital city.
“Bogotá” appears on Baile Bucanero, out now. Holland and Galeano play a special Ondatrópica DJ set tonight at Empire Control Room.
–Art Levy // host, Sunday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., producer, My KUTX