Two of the main players in the global renaissance of cumbia are merging to form a new super band, reaffirming the vitality of old-school Afro-Colombian music and its international projection.
Ondatrópica is the name of such project, the result of the unified talents of Colombia’s Mario Galeano (A.K.A. Frente Cumbiero) and England’s Will Holland (A.K.A. Quantic) with the contributions of plenty of traditional and modern Colombian live musicians. Both Frente and Quantic are renown vinyl record collectors (diggers) who gained notoriety making sample-based music with bits and pieces of obscure and forgotten tracks from Colombia’s cumbia golden age, when the powerhouse Discos Fuentes reigned supreme.
Since its heyday, cumbia faded away from the mainstream in its birthplace Colombia (replaced by salsa and vallenato), while simultaneously becoming the dominant commercial music genre in working class Latin America, all the way from Mexico and the U.S., to Chile and Argentina. In recent years, however, with the emergence of the DJ-oriented ñu-cumbia global movement, the world has turned its attention towards the roots of cumbia and discovered the infinite richness of the Afro-Colombian folklore. And right there, located at the epicenter of the whole cumbia revolution we find these two guys, one is a Colombian digger who’s been studying closely and documenting the development of cumbia trends throughout the continent, the other one is a British producer with a background in funk and soul who relocated to Colombia after discovering and falling in love with Latin music. He is currently the main curator of the many Colombian music compilations and reissues that are being released in the Anglophone market.
What Quantic and Frente Cumbiero have in common is their unconditional love and respect for the original sound of cumbia roots, but instead of a nostalgia-driven recreation, they both aim to the future with their productions. That’s why it makes a lot of sense that they united to lead such an ambitious project. Sponsored by the British Council, Ondatrópica is currently embarking in a 7 month adventure that will include the recording of an album at the historic Discos Fuentes studios in Medellin, and will end with the live performance of the band in England, in July 2012 at the Olympic Games. This is history in the making.