Colombian Music Artists

H Is For Hip Hop And Its Queens

H in the A to Z of fusion goes to Hip Hop music – leaving aside here the other core elements that make up hip hop culture.

Hip Hop earns its place because its creation definitely involves the refined art of fusion. From DJs mixing records they spin to studio producers/beat makers sampling, chopping, looping, sequencing, recording and mixing-  the beats, sounds and grooves that make up hip hop music are found and blended together from a broad range of worldwide music sources including funk, soul, rhythm and blues, disco, jazz, rock, heavy metal, reggae, salsa, cumbia, soca, pop and well, any other genre you choose really.

The evolution of hip hop music is long and involved. Its characters and contributors are many. Its history fills pages you can find elsewhere. Sufficed to say here its original roots are found in Africa and since its formation in New York in the 70’s the hip hop phenomena has spread far and wide throughout the world. Erykah Badu perfectly describes its contemporary influence in ‘The Healer’ when she sings “It’s bigger than religion, hip hop. It’s bigger than my nigga, hip hop. It’s bigger than the government”.  And thankfully so.

“The Healer” by Erykah Badu – New Amerykah: Part One (4th World War)


It’s the hip hop Kings of the world who’ve generally been the most heard and celebrated. Check out “essential hip hop” albums to find most are compilations of tracks by male artists. But of course there are female artists all over the world creating hip hop music whether they be DJ’s, MCs, beat makers or producers. Sampled below are songs featuring just a handful of those many hip hop Queens – some widely known and celebrated, others less so.

The usual warning applies: versions you find here are just dirty, compressed mp3s. Get the real deal on hard copy from your local music store, in their sweetest of forms on vinyl.

Erykah Badu (U.S.A)

Erykah Badu - Worldwide Underground

“Love Of My Life Worldwide” featuring Queen Latifah, Angie Stone & Bahamadia – Worldwide Underground


Fugees (inc. Ms Lauryn Hill) (U.S.A)

Fugees - Blunted On Reality

“Some Seek Stardom” – Blunted on Reality


ChocQuibTown (Colombia)

ChocQuibTown - Somos Pacifico

“Somos Pacifico” – Somos Pacifico


Georgia Anne Muldrow (U.S.A)

Georgia Anne Muldrow - A Thoughtiverse Unmarred

“Monoculture” – A Thoughtiverse Unmarred


Ladi6 (Aotearoa/New Zealand)

Ladi6 - Time Is Not Much

“Give Me The Light” – Time Is Not Much


Nneka (Nigeria/Germany)

Nneka - No Longer At Ease

“Halfcast” – No Longer At Ease 


Telmary (Cuba)

Telmary - A Diario

“Ando” – A Diario


Yep, blessed are we for the birth of hip hop music and its ongoing fusionary evolution since by artists all over the world.  Thankful are we for both its Queens and its Kings.

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E is for Electronic Music Infiltration

‘E’ in Beaver’s A to Z of Fusion goes to the sounds of electronic music for their like-it-or-not, rapid infiltration of almost every type of music in just about every part of the world since their beginnings at the end of the 19th century.

electronic music

A Shallow History of Infiltration

The history of electronic music is long and involved.  It’s not a story I’m qualified to properly tell, nor do I want to try. The over-simplified, short, sketchy version is this…

The Beatles - Moog SynthesizerFirst came the creation of electronic musical instruments like synthesizers. The Beatles weaved them into their music in the late 1960’s, as did artists before them. Pink Floyd did too, even Herbie Hancock, and countless artists since them.

The development of electronic music technologies continued, including digital audio to rapidly thereafter replace analog.

The creation of music using only electronic means became increasingly common.

Computer software advanced. Access to computers and other technologies became easier for most of the world.

electronic music

Certainly electronic music got its grips on ‘less-developed’ (ie. poorer) parts of the world sooner than the richer ones, but it eventually infiltrated just about everywhere. Seven years ago in Havana you can imagine my dismay when a young man in the technologically un-advanced, insulated Cuban bubble, proudly played me the reggaeton (an electronic-music-Evil) track he’d just finished making on his archaic equipment.

Some consequences of the world’s electronic music infiltration I’m into, some I am most definitely not.


Nowadays it’s rare to find music made in the warm, living analog world. That’s a tragedy of epic proportions. Thankfully some artists still deliver it – most recently D’Angelo with Black Messiah, and regularly by Will Holland (aka Quantic).

Digital music consumption now dominates – another tragedy of epic proportions.

Nowadays and for a long time it’s been open to any man, woman or their dog with a computer to make music on it. It’s great that so much creativity is flowing from people around the world, but the truth is that I have little tolerance for listening to music produced wholly and solely in the electronic domain.

It’s not all doom and gloom though – the infiltration of electronic music has had its benefits too. Today some of my favorite music from around the world is by artists/groups who innovatively utilise and blend the sounds of electronic instruments into their musical mix whilst valuing and maintaining the living, human, conventional sounds.

It is the sounds of those instruments, and the people playing them, that is the living chi of music. They make the music sound and feel alive to me. They physically and emotionally connect me to the music. Without that living element, with purely electronic sounds, the music is a lost cause for my ears.

Infiltration Samples

Check out these sample tracks by a handful of contemporary artists from different countries who mix up the sounds of electronica and the living to produce killer musical results. Remember these are just super-compressed mp3 versions of the songs. Buy the music on vinyl where you can, or at least cd, to hear it in its full, living sound glory.

1. NGAIIRE (Papua New Guinea/Australia)

Lamentations (2013) - Ngaiire

NGAIIRE – Lamentations (2013)

‘Fireflies’ – NGAIIRE – Lamentations


Check out more NGAIIRE music + footage from live shows here.

2. Flying Lotus (USA)

Flying Lotus - You're Dead! (2014)

Flying Lotus – You’re Dead! (2014)

‘Never Catch Me’ – Flying Lotus feat. Kendrick Lamar – You’re Dead! 


Flying Lotus - Until The Quiet Comes (2012)

Flying Lotus – Until The Quiet Comes (2012)

‘See Thru To U’ – Flying Lotus  feat. Erykah Badu – Until The Quiet Comes


Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma (2010)

Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma (2010)

‘German Haircut’ – Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma


Check out more Flying Lotus music here and stay tuned for a rundown of his upcoming live performances in Australia.

3. Will Holland – aka Quantic (UK)

Tropidelico - The Quantic Soul Orchestra - Tropidelico

The Quantic Soul Orchestra – Tropidélico (2007)

‘I Just Fell In Love Again’ – The Quantic Soul Orchestra – Tropidélico


Check out more Quantic tracks + footage of his DJ set at WOMADelaide 2014  here.

4. Myele Manzana (Aotearoa/New Zealand)

Myele Manzanza - One (2012)

Myele Manzanza – One (2013)

‘Elvin’s Brew’ – Myele Manzanza  – One


5. Hiatus Kaiyote (Australia)

Hiatus Kaiyote - Tawk Tomahawk

Hiatus Kaiyote – Tawk Tomahawk (2013)

‘Sphinx Gate’ – Hiatus Kaiyote – Tawk Tomahawk


Hear more Hiatus Kaiyote tracks + videos of live shows here.

6. Sidestepper (UK + Colombia)

(pioneers in live/electro Colombian fusion)

Sidestepper live at WOMADelaide 2011

Sidestepper live at WOMADelaide 2011

Sidestepper - 3AM: In Beats We Trust (2003)

Sidestepper – 3AM: In Beats We Trust (2003)

‘In The Beats We Trust’ – Sidestepper – 3AM: In Beats We Trust


7. Bajofondo (Argentina + Uruguay) 

(pioneers in Latin American live/electro fusion)

Bajofondo - Mar Dulce (2007)

Bajofondo – Mar Dulce (2007)

‘Pa’ Bailar’ – Bajofondo Tango Club – Mar Dulce


Hear more Bajofondo tracks + videos from a live show in Bogota here.

8. Roberto Fonseca (Cuba)

Roberto Fonseca - Yo (2012)

Roberto Fonseca – Yo (2013)

‘Rachel’ – Roberto Fonseca – Yo


Hear more Roberta Fonseca tracks + videos from his live performance at WOMADelaide 2014 here.

9. Electric Wire Hustle (Aotearoa/New Zealand)

Electric Wire Hustle (2010)

Electric Wire Hustle (2010)

‘Burn’ – Electric Wire Hustle


10. Little Dragon (Sweden)

Little Dragon - Ritual Union

Little Dragon – Ritual Union (2012)

‘Please Turn’ – Little Dragon – Ritual Union 


Hear more Little Dragon songs + videos from live shows here.

Little Dragon live at Oxford Art Factory, Sydney


So musical people, what say you about the infilitration of electronic music…like it, or not?

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Mama Julia y Los Sonidos Ambulantes

If you follow Rule No. 1 of moving house  – ‘Thou shall take and set up thou sound system in the new house first‘ – the best (and just about the only good) part of the process is having lots and lots of time to drown yourself in music. In this house-move my beloved, but much-neglected-of-late Colombian music collection was my main unpacking companion. The Mama Julia y Los Sonidos Ambulantes album Pa’ Que Se Lo Goce was with me mucho.

Mama Julia y Los Sonidos Ambulantes - Pa' Que Se Lo Goce

Pa’ Que Se Lo Goce (2011) – Mama Julia y Los Sonidos Ambulantes

Mama Julia are yet another great contemporary Colombian fusion group mixing up traditional and modern urban sounds to create music like none other in the world – or at least none other than in Colombia 🙂 . My discovery of Mama Julia y Los Sonidos Ambulantes was courtesy again of Cesar at one of Bogota’s best independent music stores Musiteca.

Musiteca - Bogota

This group’s music is a blend of traditional Afro-Colombian rhythms, instruments and music styles from both the Pacific and Atlantic Colombian coasts with currulao, cumbia, champeta, porro & more blended with elements of son, jazz, afro-beat, reggae, hip-hop and rock.

Check out 2 sample tracks here from Mama Julia y Los Sonidos Ambulantes’ one and only album so far Pa’ Que Se Lo Goce…

Mama Julia y Los Sonidos Ambulantes - Pa' Que Se Lo Goce

Pa’ Que Se Lo Goce (2011) – Mama Julia y Los Sonidos Ambulantes

This one is for the bass lines and sax solo…

‘Chontaduro Maduro’ – Pa’ Que Se Lo Goce (2011) – Mama Julia y Los Sonidos Ambulantes


This one’s also for the bass lines towards the end of the song…

‘Chucubit (Canto Negro)’ – Pa’ Que Se Lo Goce (2011) – Mama Julia y Los Sonidos Ambulantes


As well as the vocals and instrumentation of the 10 members of Mama Julia y Los Sonidos Ambulantes, Pa’ Que Se Lo Goce has a whole lot of guest artists on the album including a bonus track with Colombia’s renowned Pacific Coastal singer Zully Murillo on vocals.

There was talk of a 2nd Mama Julia y Los Sonidos Ambulantes album release by the end of 2013 but so far only the single ‘Distrito’ has come. The next album can’t be far away? Until then you can check out this Mama Julia y Los Sonidos Ambulantes video of ‘Distrito’ for glimpses of 1 of so, so, so many diverse and colourful districts of Colombia  – this one in Cali, called Aguablanca…

Here’s hoping for a live Mama Julia y Los Sonidos Ambulantes show when I’m next in Colombia. Here’s also hoping that’s not too long away.

Mamajulia y Los Sonidos Ambulantes

Photo courtesy of

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‘C’ is for Cumbia – Old School & New

‘C’ in the A-Z of Music Genres, Beaver Style (ie. ‘fusion’) goes to Cumbia – old school and new.

Older (But Still ‘New’) School Cumbia

In its original form Cumbia music developed around the Caribbean coast of Colombia during its period of colonization by the Spanish.  It became a fusion of music styles and instruments from the indigenous Colombian peoples of that region (the colonized), the Spanish (invading colonists) and African slaves bought to Colombia by those colonists to work.

A tragic history for Africans and Colombians yes…which brought about the awesome sounds of Cumbia that have since spread throughout the world and morphed into its many different forms.

 Cumbia Colombia

Here you can sample some older (but still ‘new’) school Colombian cumbia songs.  They’re the oldest I have in my collection anyway – cumbia goes way back a long, long time before this…

La Cumbia Colombiana - CD 2

La Cumbia Colombiana

‘La Zenaida’ – Armando Hernández – La Cumbia Colombiana


‘Yo Me Llamo Cumbia’ – La Integracion – La Cumbia Colombiana


New School Cumbia

Cumbia has come a long way since its origins.

Throughout history countless artists from around the world have taken cumbia and mixed it with their own regional music styles and/or modern ones like hip-hop, electro and jazz to create new and unique forms of music.

Here you can feast on the sounds of the newer school of cumbia music. Check out these sample (mp3 only) tracks by 10 current artists whose music I know and love from the USAFrance, England and of course Colombia.

Toto La Momposina (Colombia)

To my ears Toto La Momposina is the Queen of Contemporary Cumbia. She’s also on my ‘Live Music Experience Bucket List’.

Hailing from Talaigua Nuevo, a town in Northern Colombia, Toto La Momposina’s music draws heavily on traditional cumbia music and dance (amongst other Latin music styles like Cuban son, bullerengue, chalupa, rumba and guaracha).

Her music is celebrated in Colombia, the rest of Latin America and the wider world through which she has toured extensively in her long career.

Check out some sample tracks from some of Toto La Momposina’s albums, including her version of one of the older school sample tracks above…

Toto la Momposina - La Bodega (2009)

La Bodega (2009) – Toto La Momposina

‘Yo Me Llamo Cumbia’ – La Bodega (2009) – Toto La Momposina


‘Manita Uribe’ – La Bodega (2009) – Toto La Momposina


Carmelina (1995) - Toto la Momposina

 Carmelina (1995) – Toto La Momposina

‘La Sombra Negra’ – Carmelina (1995) – Toto La Momposina


La Candela Viva (1993) - Toto la Momposina

La Candela Viva (1993) – Toto La Momposina

‘El Pescador’ – La Candela Viva (1993) – Toto La Momposina


Ondatrópica (Colombia/England/Chile/ Peru+)

Ondatrópica - Ondatrópica (2012)

Ondatrópica (2012) – Ondatrópica

‘Cumbia Espacial’ – Ondatrópica (2012) – Ondatrópica


Read more about Ondatrópica and hear more Ondatrópica sample tracks here.



Bomba Estereo (Colombia)

Bomba Estereo - Elegancia Tropical (2012)

Elegancia Tropical (2012) – Bomba Estereo

‘Bailar Conmigo’ – Elegancia Tropical (2012) – Bomba Estereo


Kartel Pacifico (Colombia)

Coctel (2012) - Kartel Pacifico

Coctel (2012) – Kartel Pacifico

‘Care Cumbia’ – Coctel (2012) – Kartel Pacifico


Puerto Candelaria (Colombia)

Cumbia Rebelde (2011) - Puerto Candelaria

Cumbia Rebelde (2011) – Puerto Candelaria

‘Cumbia Veracruz’ – Cumbia Rebelde (2011) – Puerto Candelaria


Here you can check out more sample Puerto Candelaria tracks and a video of a live Puerto Candelaria show in Medellin last year.


Papaya Republik (Colombia)

Vol. 1 - Papaya Republik

Vol. 1 (2010) – Papaya Republik

´Cumbia Del Pescaito´ – Vol 1 (2010) – Papaya Republik


Read more about Papaya Republik & listen to other Papaya Republik tracks here.

Papaya Republik live

Papaya Republik


Monareta (Colombia)

Monareta - Fried Speakers (2010)

Fried Speakers (2010) – Monareta

‘Cumbia de la Sierra’ – Fried Speakers (2010) – Monareta


The Quantic Soul Orchestra

(aka Will Holland – England – + his global music collaborators)

Tropidelico - The Quantic Soul Orchestra - Tropidelico

Tropidelico (2007) – The Quantic Soul Orchestra

‘Los Olvidados’ – Tropidelico (2007) – The Quantic Soul Orchestra


Check out more sample tracks from The Quantic Soul Orchestra + other Will Holland albums here.

You can also find these Quantic cumbia fusion albums


Here you can also check out a video of a DJ set by Will Holland (aka Quantic) at WOMADelaide Festival 2014

Sergent Garcia (France)

Mascaras (2006) - Sergent Garcia

Mascaras (2006) – Sergent Garcia

‘Yo Me Yoy Pa’ La Cumbia’ – Mascaras (2006) – Sergent Garcia


Hear more sample tracks from Mascaras + Sergent Garcia’s other albums here.



Ozomatli (USA)

Ozomatli (1998) - Ozomatli

Ozomatli (1998) – Ozomatli

‘Cumbia De Los Muertos’ – Ozomatli (1998) – Ozomatli


Cumbia certainly has made an incredibly profound musical mark all through Latin America and the rest of our big wide world.

I love cumbia in all its many diverse forms, old school and new.  Don’t you?

I Love Cumbia


‘C’ is for Chutney & More

Along with Cumbia, ‘C’ is for so many other music genres from around the world, fusion Beaver style.  Here are a few of the ones I like the sound of…

Candombe – fusion of African and Uruguayan styles developed by African-Uruguayan slaves in the 19th century.

Chicken scratch – fusion of Native American, White American, Mexican, and European styles, performed by the Native American Tohono O’odham people.

Chutney – Caribbean pop music that fuses calypso and cadence with several Indian styles.

Conjunto – fusion of Mexican and German styles developed by Mexican-Americans who had bought German instruments in Texas; it also introduced elements of Caribbean and Cuban music.

Crunk – fusion of hip hop and EDM, known for its heavy basslines and shouted, call-and-response vocals; often used incorrectly as an umbrella term for Southern hip hop.

Crunk&B – fusion of crunk and contemporary R&B.

Crunkcore – fusion of crunk and scream.

Anyone got some Chutney or Candombe music to share?  

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Will Holland (aka Quantic) – Master Chef of Fusion

British artist Will Holland (aka Quantic) has absolutely awesome tastes in music. At least according to where my musical heart is at.

Those tastes are reflected in and are a part of, the absolutely awesome and innovative music he has created in each of his many musical projects over more than a decade.

Master Fusion Chef

Will Holland is a Master Chef of fusion music as I talk about it in Beaver World.

In his interchanging roles of musician, producer, song writer, arranger, band leader and DJ, he blends worldwide sounds and flavours to create unique, diverse, delicious musical cocktails.

Ondatrópica -

The ingredients Will Holland uses for those musical cocktails are of the absolute best sort you see…

Sweet Vinyl

*Sweet sounding, old vinyl records of music from musically amazing parts of the world…Africa –  the South & Central Americas – and the Caribbean (+ the UK &  Europe too 🙂 )

…personally collected by Will Holland from those & other corners of the world.

Will Holland (aka Quantic)

The Finest of Genres

Music mixing up different combinations of…

*FunkSoulR&BAfro Beat & other African styles – JazzHip HopIndianReggaeDub – MentoCalypso – Latin in its every-so-many forms, especially the beloved Cumbia + CurrulaoChirimiaRumbaBossa NovaMamboFandangoPorroPachangaBugalu, and many more.

Awesome tastes in music, yes indeed.

Top Quality Artists

*So many different collaborations with always incredible (many of them legendary) music artists from around the world. Lots of them are Colombian, especially in recent years while Will Holland has been based in Colombia. Given my love for Colombian music in all its diverse forms, that’s an extra special element in this music for me.



*Sometimes the artists contributing to a song are recording their parts in different studios around the world.  Exceptionally in these days of sound recording, Will Holland’s projects also often have all the musicians playing and recording together in the same room at the same time.  The musicians, singers and engineers are more than enough skilled to do that – and the special essence of them creating music together in that moment, is captured as it should be.

*The artists are old school and new school ones, young and old.

*Will Holland is of course one of them – most often on guitar, and more recently on accordian too.


Sounds of the Good Ol’ Days

*Vintage instruments.

*Analogue recording equipment.

*Old school recording techniques and almost-forgotten engineering skills.

*Live recordings of vocals and instrumental parts by artists, instead of the use of samples.

The Quantic Soul Orchestra - Tropidelico

The different combinations of all those ingredients in Will Holland’s many musical projects, equals a long discography of diverse, high quality, warm and textured sounding musical creations. Each one is a delight to listen and dance to.

Quantic Creations So Far

Here are just some of Will Holland’s musical creations to give you an idea of the goodness to be found in the entire collection…

*I’ve talked before about the Colombian fusion music treasure that is Ondatrópica (check it and sample Ondatrópica songs here).


*Collaborations with Alice Russell, including their soulful, bluesy album Look Around The Corner recorded with The Combo Barbaro.

Quantic & Alice Russell - Look Around The Corner

*Los Miticos Del Ritmo – a 2013 album written by Will Holland and recorded with he and his studio band of Colombian cumbia & vallenato musicians.

Los Miticos del Ritmo - Quantic

*The Quantic Soul Orchestra with 60’s jazz-funk-soul diva Spanky Wilson on the album I’m Thankful.

Spanky Wilson & The Quantic Soul Orchestra - I'm Thankful

*The Original Sound of Cumbia – a history collection of obscure, vintage Colombian cumbia & porro tracks from between 1948 to 1979 – divided between 2 discs by their status as either pre or post externally-influenced music.

The Original Sound of Cumbia - Quantic

 *Quantic’s dub/tropical Latin albums Flowering Inferno (Death of the Revolution + Dog With a Rope).


*Lots more fusions (and not) of rare funk, soul, jazz, breakbeat, hip hop, Latin, Afro, reggae, dub + more – on these & other albums and singles released as Quantic or The Quantic Soul Orchestra

Finally for now, check out some sample tracks from two of my favourite albums in the Quantic collection – Tropidelico and Tradition In Transition.  When you listen, please remember there’s not many original sounds of the music left in these here mp3 versions.  Buy the real deal for the true sonic experience.

The Quantic Soul Orchestra – Tropidelico (2007)

The Quantic Soul Orchestra - Tropidelico

‘Melodious Wayfarer (Soul Montuno)’ – Tropidelico (2007) 

‘San Sebastian Strut (Cumbia Soul)’ – Tropidelico (2007)

Quantic And His Combo Barbaro – Tradition In Transition (2009)

Quantic And His Combo Barbaro - Tradition In Transition

This album features, amongst other great artists, legendary Peruvian born piano player Alfredo Linares; Panama’s beloved soul singer Kabir;  a beautiful horn section that makes me smile with each note played (Cuban trumpet player Angel Hernandez and Colombian Lucho Blanco on sax); with Will Holland on guitar.

‘Mas Pan’ – Tradition In Transition (2009) 

‘Linda Morena’ – Tradition In Transition (2009) 

More Quantic Music Soon & For Forever

Will Holland’s musical creations can be yours to have and behold forever, on sweet vinyl and/or cd. If absolutely necessary (let’s hope it never is), on mp3 too. You can buy them through Tru Thoughts Recordings (along with music by the label’s other great artists) or the Quantic site.

Keep an ear out for whatever fusion (or other) music wonders Will Holland has in store for us next. I’m also still hoping for a live Ondatrópica experience somewhere in my future.

In the meantime who’s coming to WOMADelaide in March to dance some Quantic DJ sets away with me?  Given all of the above, it’s pretty easy to believe that whatever musical cocktails Will Holland has in store for us at WOMAD will be absolutely awesome too. Less than 6 weeks to wait now!

Will Holland (aka Quantic)

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Melbourne Music Juggle 2 – Johnston St Fiesta 2013

I booked to go to Melbourne in mid-November for AWME.

Johnston St Fiesta - 2013 - www.beaveronthebeats.comJohnston St Fiesta - Melbourne - www.beaveronthebeats.comI’d forgotten that Johnston St Fiesta was on the same weekend…in my beloved Melbourne hood of Fitzroy.


So really, what was a poor time-limited Beaver to do but juggle some of its music, dance and food into her Melbourne days and nights too?

With AWME on (+ usual Melbourne just happening), I only caught some of the Fiesta gigs – but all of them, and the musicians who played them, were pretty great.


Celebrating Las Culturas Latinas y Españolas

Johnston St Fiesta – called the Spanish Fiesta by many – and most formally called the Hispanic-Latin American Festival. It’s a celebration of Latin and Spanish cultures and language – all of which are well represented in multi-cultural Melbourne.

Johnston St Fiesta - 2013 - Melbourne -

One block of Johnston St closed to traffic, filled with many, many people – trying to move up and down the street amongst 2 lines of food stalls cooking traditional Latin and Spanish food delights. The Fiesta’s popularity outgrew its street space long ago.

The most quiet time

The calm before the storm of people

Music & Dance

Johnston St Fiesta - Melbourne-

The Fiesta has one stage for bands and DJs at night, and for teachers giving dance classes to the crowd throughout the day.  I was unlucky enough to be at the Fiesta during the only reggaeton class of the day.

I caught a great show by Melbourne’s salsa/cumbia big band Quarter Street Orchestra on my way to Ngaiire’s awesome AWME gig in the city on Saturday night :).

Quarter St Orchestra - Johnston St Fiesta -2013 - www.beaveronthebeats.comQuarter St Orchestra - Johnston St Fiesta -2013- www.beaveronthebeats.comQuarter St Orchestra - Johnston St Fiesta -2013-






 Video from the Quarter Street Orchestra show here… 

If you can find your way out of the main street crowd and into one of the usual Johnston St bars, there are other music and dance shows on offer.

Kanela Bar

My favourite one of those bars for quality music/dance experiences is the cosy, homely, family-run Kanela Flamenco Tapas Bar.

There you’ll find Australia’s best flamenco group, four-piece Arte Kanela performing a few times daily.

Arte Kanela

Arte Kanela

Go back to Kanela Bar later in the night for good Latin music gigs played by a mix of musicians from other Melbourne bands.

Sometimes at the gig, like the one I caught at the end of the Fiesta, you might find top Australian male flamenco dancer Johnny Tedesco, playing cajun in the band…with none of the solemness of flamenco and a big smile.

Oscar Jimenez & Johnny Tedesco - Kanela Bar -2013-

Johnny Tedesco

Sunday night’s gig was led by Oscar Jimenez (Watussi) before he left Australia to launch his Vibrating Planet project in South America – with Emiliano Beltzer (Funkalleros &  Santa Taranta) on bass, and Jose Nieto on vocals and harmonica.  Their music made me feel happy.

Oscar Jimenez

Oscar Jimenez


Emiliano Beltzer

Emiliano Beltzer


Jose Nieto

Jose Nieto








Video from the Oscar Jimenez & Co. gig here…

Saturday night at Kanela Bar (on my way back from Ngaiire’s show) I caught Rumberos‘ band leader Leo Salvo and his ‘Band With No Name’…who I want to name.

Leo Salvo - Kanela Bar -2013-

Marcelo Salvo (Rumberos) on bass and hand percussion – Cristian Saavedra (Quarter Street Orchestra, Del Barrio & Latin hip-hop band LABJACD) on percussion – Jonothon Cohen (Del Barrio & Rumberos) on keys – with Elizabeth Obando (Del Barrio & Son3) on bass and vocals and Oscar Poncell (Son3 & Kunataki) on percussion in some songs.

Leo Salvo - Kanela Bar -2013 -

Marcelo Salvo - Kanela Bar -2013-

Leo Salvo - Kanela Bar -2013-

Check out some videos here…


To battle, or not to battle Johnston St Fiesta crowds?

Melbourne has a huge number of talented musicians playing Latin music. If you’re in the city when the Fiesta is on, it’s worth trying to get through the crowds to hear them and other visiting musicians play.  If you don’t think so, don’t worry – you’ll find most of the Johnston St Fiesta musicians playing gigs somewhere else in Melbourne one or many nights in any other week :).

Johnston St Fiesta - Melbourne -

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Ondatrópica – Fusion Music Treasure

The Ondatrópica Recipe:

1. Find English producer and musician Will Holland (aka QuanticQuantic Soul Orchestra) where he is based in Cali, or wherever else in the world he is touring.  Join him up with Mario Galeano, leader of Colombian fusion band Frente Cumbiero, and also collaborator with the one and only Mad Professor.

Ondatrópica -

2. Then find 40 more of Colombia’s (and other Latin countries) most talented and experienced musicians, representing different generations and different musical genres.

Ondatrópica - www.beaveronthebeats.comOndatrópica - www.beaveronthebeats.comOndatrópica - www.beaveronthebeats.comOndatrópica -

3. Put all of those artists together into legendary, old school recording studio Discos Fuentes in Medellin, with analogue production equipment.  Keep them there for about 3 weeks.

Ondatrópica -

What do you get at the end?

Ondatrópica - Ondatrópica (2012) - www.beaveronthebeats.comThe Ondatrópica album:  an incredibly unique and brilliant Colombian fusion music album in which traditional meets modern in a very exciting way.

In the tracks on just one album, Ondatrópica have successfully managed to combine and showcase, in stellar style, the vast richness and diversity of traditional and contemporary Colombian music in all its many forms.   The music is a  quality blend of cumbia, jazz, salsa, bossa nova, gaita, electro, hip hop, champeta, porro, dub, ska, afro beat, funk, beat box, and probably more :).

Check out some sample tracks from the Ondatrópica album yourself.  You’ll see what I mean. Serious mp3 sound quality warning here.  Buying the real album (easy on-line) will give you so much more listening pleasure with all its quality, varied, intricate sounds.

I Ron Man


Black Sabbath fans…What say you about Iron Man Colombian style?

Ska Fuentes


So we all agree about the album’s brilliance yes?

Well then, what do you get next when some of those 42 Ondatrópica musicians go on tour to perform live around the world?  A pretty incredible and unique live music experience, I imagine, and hope to find out for sure when I can.

 Ondatrópica -

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Monsieur Periné – Colombian Gypsy Jazz To Make You Happy

Every second person I spoke to in Colombia recently about contemporary Colombian fusion music, recommended this band to me.  Thanks to all those people – because I love Monsieur Periné.

Monsieur Periné

Monsieur Periné’s music is Colombian fusion flavours of a different sort again – illustrating again the incredible diversity of music in Colombia.

The group self describes as a ‘Laboratorio de música popular experimental con alma de antaño’ – a laboratory of experimental pop music with the soul of yesteryear.  The music is swinging Gypsy Jazz in French roots (Jazz Manouche) + pop + subtle Latin rhythmic flavours in the mix.

Monsieur Periné

Monsieur Periné

Monsieur Periné is an independent 7 piece band based in Bogota. The group is award winning, regularly performs at festivals in and outside of Colombia, gets radio play in Colombia, and has a big following.

There are very good reasons for all of that – the musicianship of the group members is stellar, and the music is fantastic.

This is totally different to any other music I have heard come out of Colombia. Listening to it makes me feel happy.  What else do I need to say???  Nothing :).

Listen yourself to some sample tracks from Monsieur Periné’s album Hecho a Mano. If it makes you happy too, the original CD will make you even happier than these MP3 versions.

Hecho A Mano (2012)

Hecho A Mano (2012)



03 Suin Romantico – Hecho de Mano (2012) 

11 La Muerta- Hecho de Mano (2012) 


Doesn’t it make you feel happy too?

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Afrotumbao: Pacific Coast Afro-Colombian Meets Hip Hop

I meant to tell you about this band a long time ago.


Afrotumbao’s album No Es Facil (It’s Not Easy) was another great Colombian fusion music recommendation from Cesar at Musiteca in Bogota last year.  One I’m happy for.

Afrotumbao is an independent band based in Bogota, made up of 10 members from different parts of Colombia.

Afrotumbao -

The group creates music that’s a mix of traditional Afro Colombian sounds and modern hip hop.

Marimba de ChontaThose traditional sounds come from the principal (and beautiful sounding) instrument – the Marimba de Chonta a percussion instrument from the Pacific Coastal region of Colombia. The rest come from electric guitar, bass, drum kit, percussion, trumpet, sax, clarinet, piano, vocals & raps.

Sample tracks from No Es Facil here…


El Pescador – No Es Facil

Pacifico Soy – No Es Facil

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Circolombia Brings Urban Cali to Brisbane

“I’m gonna tell you about my life. Real life.

When I was 15 my life was very different.

I lived in one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods of Cali, Colombia, known as 13-13.

And you just can’t imagine some of the things I’ve seen…

Circolombia - Urban -

But my life changed when I discovered ***circus*** …”

Circolombia - Urban - Brisbane-2013-

Circolombia - Urban - Brisbane-2013-


The scene is set there for Circolombia’s current stage show Urban: in the real (and challenging) lives of  Circolombia artists growing up in urban Cali, Colombia.

Circolombia - Urban -

It is being performed in these days at South Bank Piazza as part of the Brisbane Festival 2013.

Caleno Dance

Urban is like watching a gritty and raw Colombian stage version of the dance drama movies I love so much (from Shirley Temple to Flashdance to Street Dance). There is some cheesiness in all of them, but I love them anyway.  I loved that Urban was full of dance (with some salsa flavours), and that it told real life stories.

Circolombia - Urban -


On top of the dance this Circolombia stage movie has non-stop phenomenal acrobatic and circus acts by incredibly talented artists.

Circolombia - Urban -


Circolombia - Urban -

La Musica

Urban also has live vocals & raps  – with a backing soundtrack of music mixing mostly hip hop & reggaeton, some electronica and a tiny dash of salsa.  I didn’t even mind the reggaeton music in Urban – the visual show was too amazing to care.

I’ve yapped about reggaeton a lot but never given a sample of it. 🙂 . Here’s one reggaeton track from the Urban SoundTrack…

‘Noche Adrenalina’ – Circolombia – Urban Soundtrack


+ 1 non-reggaeton track…

‘Mano a Mano’ – Circolombia – Urban Soundtrack

Dance + Circus + Drama + Music.  All of that (+ 1 more thing) for me made Urban a very cool show to watch from start to finish.  I was either smiling for the dance; or my body was moved to move to the music; or I was on the edge of my seat making “wow’ and “oooohh” noises for the Circolombia artists performing their insanely great but risky pieces.

from the ground to the top along a rope yes

From the ground to the top along a rope yes

Visual Cali

The ‘1 more thing’ was the visual arts.  For me they were an absolutely integral and beautiful part of the Urban experience.

The pre-show visuals took us on a journey of a Colombian boy travelling through the streets of Cali on the back of a collective bus.

Those moving images put me in the streets of Cali before the performers even graced the stage.

Screen visuals shown throughout the actual performance of Urban then kept me in the streets of Cali with the artists as they narrated real Caleno life through music, dance and circus.

Circolombia - Urban -

“Cali es Cali”

Circolombia - Urban - www.beaveronthebeats.comCircolombia - Urban -

Check out videos from the Urban show here…



Circolombia bought urban Cali into Brisbane. Since ya all know by now how much I love Colombia, that made me extra happy.  I could keep going back to see Urban again and again – the same as I can keep watching Flashdance over and over again 🙂 .

Circolombia - Urban -

Urban is on in Brisbane until this Friday, 27 September.  Get there if you can.

Supporting Arts for the Disadvantaged

All of the Urban artists were students of Circo Para Todas – a non-profit, professional circus school in Cali for disadvantaged Colombian youth.  Circo Para Todas is currently running an important campaign to raise much needed funds to erect a new big top tent, install a floor and seating and run an opening show at the new venue. To learn more about the program and to make a donation, visit the site.  Spread the word to all your friends!

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