At the very center of Somos Calentura (We Are The Heat) – the Colombian movie directed by Jorge Navas – is music and dance. Making its official US premiere in February and now available on HBO Latino, the film captures the story of Harvey (Duván Arizala), who tries to steer his future away from a violent destiny in the mostly Black and poverty-stricken city of Buenaventura through dancing with his crew.
With music playing such an important role in the movie’s storytelling, Navas alongside music supervisor and former member of Sidesteppers Iván Benavides took on the adventure to find artists who not only represented the spirit of the Pacific coastal city in its rawest form, but also matched the energy of the dance moves, and the urgency of using art as a way of survival. With this in mind, it was only natural that the movie soundtrack ended up overflowing with Blackness.
From hip-hop and dancehall to dembow and funk, Somos Calentura’s soundtrack features sounds from the African diaspora, including music locally originated like bambuco viejo, beautifully performed in the film by award-winning Buenaventura musician and marimba legend Baudilio Cuama. Other familiar names like El Freaky, ChocQuibTown, Rocca, and Kzadores are also featured.
Another genre that widely appears on Somos Calentura is salsa choke, the irresistible product of breeding salsa dura, hip-hop, and urbano sounds in Colombia’s Pacific coast. Its dance moves are equally known as its rhythm, some of which became internationally known thanks to the Colombian National Soccer Team’s celebrations during the 2014 World Cup.
Through this list, we want to highlight five of the Afro-Colombian salsa choke artists and their songs used on Somos Calentura to turn up the vibe to a hundred, and soundtrack some of our favorite dance scenes in the movie.
Somos Calentura is available on all HBO streaming platforms (HBO GO/HBO NOW/ On Demand).
Patio 4 - "Yo Nunca Pelao"
Hailing from Tumaco, the birthplace of salsa choke, Patio 4 contributed to Somos Calentura with “Yo Nunca Pelao,” the title track of his 2016 album. The song invites us to live life without worries, but it also winks at us with playful sexiness. Plus, Patio 4’s sad trap track “Si Me Muero Mañana” caps off the movie in an emotional note.
Nino Brown - “Racataca”
Serving as the backdrop to one of the most carefree club scenes in the movie is “Racataca,” the contagious track by Nino Brown and one of the biggest salsa choke hits of 2016. Its onomatopoeic chorus is an earworm that disseminates our muscles and takes over. We dare you to stay still.
Los Tenores EDC - “Hasta las 6”
On a more melodic end of salsa choke are Los Tenores EDC, and their Komix-produced track “Hasta las 6,” which also made its way to Somos Calentura. This one is for the ladies, as the trio sings, raps, and trade verses – inviting all women to get down on the dance floor.
Real Black – “Hagan Así”
“Hagan Así” kicks in right in time for the peak dance competition in Somos Calentura, so the adrenaline can still be felt way after the movie is over. Real Black’s salsa choke banger commands you to move, and together with its music video and dembow breaks, it can be a great way to learn the dance.
Snick Candelo – “Alboroto”
Komix is also behind the decks on Snick Candelo’s “Alboroto,” which also can be heard on the film. The song feels special because it contains marimba melodies, connecting it to the traditional Pacific Afro-Colombian music, as well as accordion lines reminiscent of vallenato. If the DJ drops this one at the club, you know you won’t be going home anytime soon.