The Afrosound is Colombia’s reaction to the early 1970’s Chicha movement that was happening in Peru and Bolivia at the time. José María Fuentes saw the popularity of this new type of hybrid cumbia sound and thus created a sort of Discos Fuentes super group.
Produced by Julio Estrada (Fruko El Bueno), Afrosound not only incorporated the Andean guitar laden sound, but mixed in some funk, salsa/son, tropical, disco, and afro colombian rhythms to boot. The result being cumbia party albums from start to finish. These are the kind of LPs you can just walk away from for 20 mins. while you’re djing.
(side note: I think that it is Fruko who is MC’ing for these guys)
I was going to choose the title tract as the second song, which is actually a cover tune from the Andean group Los Mirlos. But I decided on one of my favorite cuts from the album. Afrosound again is putting their own chicha stamp on the traditional cumbia La Magdalena. Here is a good example of how traditional cumbia instrumentation is being swapped for the electric guitar, farifisas (possibly), hoeners, ect. It is a good reflection on how malleable cumbia rhythms can be from past to present and from country to country.
Carruseles (Merry-go-round) is probably one of Afrosound’s more difficult records to find for some reason. And it appears to be one of their most experimental lp’s of the all the ones I will be showing you. I’ve got a hand full of other versions of the song Carruseles and I might put them all up in the future. The Conjunto Miramar and Anibal Velasquez versions are dope. The lyrics to the original song itself are sexually suggestive, but Afrosound’s instrumental is like cumbia/son on an acid trip.
Nevertheless, it’s in my opinion that the tropical sounds mixed with psychedelic guitars would only have made music like this much more affable to the Latin American public, while showing off the exploritory side of a bunch of amazing musicians.
I thought I’d throw in another track off this album. This time with a calypso number. Trying to put in every genre I suppose. Enjoy!
Although some records might be harder to find than others, picking up music from Afrosound isn’t that difficult. Unfortunately, the last time I checked, Discos Fuentes doesn’t sell cd’s online outside of South America. However, you just need to go to a good Latin American cd store and one should be able to pick up a full length or compilation cd of their music. Their popularity and influence is broader than we can imagine North of Mexico.
Anyway, sometimes you can actually judge a book by it’s cover. And if this cover is any indication of what the album is going to sound like, then you know Onda Brava (Brave Wave) is going to be a party.
Someone told me that Vampisoul records is supposed to be putting out an Afrosound compilation. Which will be awesome. So if you have a hard time tracking these songs down, those guys always seem to make it easier. Also, I spoke with Beto from Soundway records a couple years ago when they released The Golden Age Of Discos Fuentes. We actually had a discussion about Afrosound. I bet they will put them in the second time around.
Tiro Al Blanco (slang: awesome, something that is the best) is a cumbia version of Massara’s 1979 Italo-disco hit “Margarita”. This song is probably Afrosounds biggest hit as well. This infectious number has been covered often and may sound like a familiar sample from a Manu Chao song.
Anyway, these are pretty much some of the best Afrosound records I own from the 70’s to the 80’s. I didn’t have much luck with any of their music after this. From what I understand the group went through many different musicians/producers until they disbanded in 80’s. They do a song called Cumbia Arabe (Cumbia of the Arab) which I’ve heard (it’s great), yet it still eludes me on vinyl.