Tag Archives: Ondatropica

Colombia’s Ondatrópica Contextualize the Music of the Tropics

Ondatrópica

In the last few years, tropical themes have made a comeback in pop, with everyone from The Strokes to Diplo to Mike Posner leaning toward the equator through sounds, instrumentation and even the color palettes in their music videos. Most of these references coming from the mainstream are devoid of the historical, social and political contexts of the tropics, though. A good start in that direction is the music of Ondatrópica.

Since forming in 2011, the Colombian supergroup helmed by Mario Galeano and Will Holland —known as Frente Cumbiero and Quantic, respectively— has taken an overtly political stance in re-contextualizing tropical genres, specifically those tied to Colombian folklore and popular culture. As researchers and record collectors, they’ve been slowly studying the music and artists coming out of the golden age of the Colombian recording industry (roughly through the ‘40s, ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s) and incorporating in their own music, the production techniques, instruments and artists whose contributions to the country’s musical canon have been overlooked or forgotten through the years. The result of their search was recorded in their first effort, 2012’s Ondatrópica, which featured a total of 50 musicians from different generations giving a nuanced (and delightful) contemporary update to styles like cumbia, salsa, and vallenato.

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