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The Afrosound of Colombia: Experiments, explorations and psychedlia in the 60s & 70s in Colombia.
Fruko – Colombian Maestro and living icon – leads a live exploration of his back catalogue as a composer, performer, and producer: a journey through his contribution to salsa, tropical music, psychedelia, Latin Jazz and what we could describe as the ‘Fruko sound.’ Joined by the one of the most exciting Latin bands in the UK, The Bonita House Band – comprising some of the best musicians on the London scene – Fruko showcases music from the main projects which he has directed, produced and written for: Fruko y Sus Tesos, The Latin Brothers, Wganda Kenya, Afrosound and Los Corraleros de Majagual.
He started playing music with Los Corraleros De Majagual when he was only 13 years old, and went on to record over 800 albums. He was right-hand man for Colombian vocalists and artists such as Joe Arroyo, Wilson Saoco and Piper Pimienta, and wrote and produced some of the best known salsa songs worldwide.
Globally known for his commercial success with his band Fruko y Sus Tesos, Fruko has a much more experimental and diasporic sound too, one that record collectors and musicologists around the world have praised for years. This sound was immortalised through his involvement in the bands Afrosound and Wganda Kenya.
Between the 1970s and the late 1980s, Wganda Kenya formed part of a small collection of pioneering Afro-Colombian bands that ruled the airwaves in northern Colombian cities like Cartagena and Barranquilla. They were put together in the 1970s by Discos Fuentes, the famous Medellín-based label (often described as Colombia’s version of ‘Motown’), along with sister group Afrosound. The name Wganda Kenya invokes an African heritage, and their music combined the furious rhythms inherited from the Fela Kuti albums that were arriving in Colombia’s coastal regions at the time with a large spoonful of 70s funk, and their own electric, Latin flavour.
Afrosound was a domestic version of the emerging African and Latin rock sounds coming from outside the country. Inspired by groups like Osibisa and Santana it emulated the guitar-heavy tropical sounds emanating from Perú and Ecuador at the time. There were improvised vocal asides (called ‘inspiraciones’), plus a barrage of synths, drum machines and other electronic flourishes. The most famous Afrosound hit of all, Caliventura, is a genius blend of funk and cumbia.