Accordion player and composer, Carmelo Torres is considered as one of the main protagonists in the story of Colombian Cumbia. He is the living legacy of Cumbia Sabanera, a rural accordion style of cumbia from San Jacinto, in the Caribbean region of Colombia, influenced by the traditional flutes.
He learned to play vallenato first, by himself, before he met the ‘King of Cumbia’, Andrés Landero who was his teacher since kid, and started to play cumbias.
Since Landero passed away in 2000, Carmelo’s major concern’s been to carry on his teacher’s legacy, keeping the cumbia genre alive and teaching the youngest.
Carmelo is now knowned as The Accordion Bible. In 2019, Carmelo Torres’ music still smells as the music of the countryside, the sabana is present when he sings about labour works, nature, life and love. Indeed, He lives this new century and the globalization of our world musics as cumbia and vallenato and his music can be danced in nightclubs making part of our generation, looking backwards and towards in the same song.
With his group, he has performed widely at home in Colombia at caribean festivals winning all the contests and at the prestigious Festival Colombia al Parque in Bogotá in 2013. Torres has also travelled extensively with his conjunto as far as Europe, Australia, South Korea, Morroco and throughout Latin America in México, Panamá, Perú, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Brasil.
WOMEX 2019 Official Selection
From the heart of the Colombian jungle to the roofs of Paris.
ËDA – Eléonore Diaz Arbelaez is a singer and a doublebass player. Through her different musical experiences -from psychedelic rock to salsa- and thanks to her cultural heritage, she has developed a strong taste for fusion. French and Colombian, she sings in Spanish, the language of the poets who inspire her.
In 2015, she met Anthony Winzenrieth, musician and director in the pop-jazz music world. He, too, knows about latin music: before becoming part of 3SOMESISTERS, he collaborated with Ricardo Herz (Brazil) and Niuver (Cuba).
Since then, they have been working together with complicity on Eléonore’s texts and compositions, that are inspired by the power of Lhasa de Sela, the dreamlike universe of Björk, as well as the depth of James Blake, or the sweetness of Omara Portuondo. Their own fusion of traditional latin music and contemporary electro-pop is the result of a musical research process that has been enriched along the way, just like a quest for self-discovery.
Psychedelic afro-caribbean Cumbia
Drawing from influences like Cumbia, Merengue, Dub and afro-caribbean rhythms, Candeleros surrender to a sort of exorcism full of differents sounds in which they reach altered states of consciousness. All of this includes percussion sounds coming from the beyond, Andean echoes, cinematic atmospheres and tunes that seem to come from an old episode of The Twilight Zone. Candeleros music is like digging into a postmodernism hole to find the very pure of tropicalismo.
Candeleros is a plurinacional group of six people that come from Colombia and Venezuela. They have their operational center in Madrid, from where they try to expand a multicoloured psychedelic sound to dance. “Echar una candela” is commonly known as the improvised reunion around the tobacco, fire and music. “La candela” also is the measurement for the lights units and their intensity. “Candela” and “fuego” are also used as metaphors for passion, hit and love.
Candeleros goal is to unify the afro-caribbean sounds as a proof of identity, folklore and modernity. William, Fernando, Urko, Sergio, Alex and Andrés come from places where we can listen to rhythms like Cumbia and Son. They have mixed these rhythms alongside with percussion sounds and guitars to create a sort of psychedelic ritual.
During their four years of musical trajectory, Candeleros has performed in differents shows around Europe. They have performed in important festivals such as Sonorama Ribera, Trans Musicales de Rennes (France), Sziget Festival (Budapest), BAM Festival (Barcelona), Monkey Week (Sevilla).
In addition to all of this, Candeleros music can be found in music platforms such as KEXP radio, FIP Radio, Radio Gladys Palmera and Sofar Sounds Madrid.
A magnificent performer, Toto La Momposina is a charismatic living legend of Afro-Colombian song, the original “Queen of Cumbia” whose entire life has been dedicated to representing the music of her country’s Caribbean coastline. A mix of African, indigenous Indian and Spanish cultures gave the region the rich musical traditions which Toto has been instrumental in keeping alive and taking to international audiences.
Cumbia is the percussive style characterised by off-beat polyrhythms which exploded across Latin America and beyond; today it is one of the most influential and best-loved musical exports of the region.
Toto’s music has touched artists far and wide, from Timbaland (his track ‘Indian Flute’ samples Toto’s Curura) to Manu Chao (who borrowed a chorus from La Verdolaga) to Michel Cleis’ 2009 cumbia-house mega hit La Mezcla (the Ibiza dance track of the summer samples vocals and tambores from El Pescador, No 1 in the Spanish play list for 6 weeks), to Calle13 those who invited her to take part in the song that has turned into the ode of Latin America “Latinoamérica”.
Hailing from Talaigua, a tiny village on the banks of the mighty Magdalena River, Toto was born into a family of musicians spanning five generations. The household lived with the musical traditions of ‘la costa’ and she learned to sing and dance as a child. As a teenager, she traveled from village to village researching their various rhythms and dances and studying the art of the cantadora – the gifted women at the heart of rural cultural life.
Since the 1960s when Toto emerged as a popular singer, these rhythms have formed the core of a vast repertoire which also embraces other Latin American traditions such as Cuban son, guaracha and bolero. She has toured internationally since the 1970s and in 1982 accompanied Gabriel Garcia Marquez to Stockholm to perform at his Nobel prize ceremony. In the early 1990s her global fame was cemented by a WOMAD tour across three continents and the release of La Candela Viva, the first of many acclaimed albums. In 2006 she was presented with the WOMEX Lifetime Achievement Award for her extraordinary contribution to world music. A dynamic 73 year old, Toto continues to work tirelessly to promote the music of her homeland, driven by passion and the simple joy of performance.
“A cantadora belongs to the people!” Toto exclaims. “She is a woman who belongs to the space around her and who is true to her roots…but she is born with the gift of singing, the gift of summoning people.” Through the power of her voice and creative spontaneity, Toto La Momposina has used this gift to summon people from all over the world, to hear the evocative village music of her roots, and celebrate a rich traditional legacy with one of the true giants of Latin American music