Zalama Crew – Best New Colombian Fusion Music Find

I was going to give La Feria de las Flores events in Medellin a miss this year.

Changing my mind and going to Sunday’s Negra Noche (‘Black Night’) – part of the Parque Cultural Nocturno program in La Feria de las Flores – was a blessed thing for the three new musical discoveries I made.

1. ZALAMA CREW

One of those new finds is Zalama Crew – my first taste of fusion music from the Colombian city of Cali, and my best new Colombian music find this time around in Colombia.

Zalama Crew live at Negra Noche - Parque Cultura Nocturno 2013 - Medellin - Beaver on the Beats

Zalama Crew at La Feria de las Flores

Zalama Crew at Negra Noche were 9 guys:  4 singers/emcees (Dr Rata; Bing; Maik Cel; Osound); Bass (Andres); Guitar (Frank); Drums (Alvaro); DJ CronicVJ Paul Dub.

Zalama Crew - La Negra Noche - 2013 - www.beaveronthebeats.com

Note – nine band members on stage and no live horns (their usual sax/flute player missing) – and I didn’t even notice until it was over.  That’s a good sign.  The music was so  full and engaging that I didn’t miss the live horns like I usually would.

Zalama Crew dub themselves ‘urban world music lovers’ – a good description given the diverse mix of music they create. I heard so many different flavours in the mix – all blended together seamlessly and played with such style – Hip Hop, Electrónica, Jazz, Drum & Bass, Bossa Nova, Cumbia, Punk, Soul/R&B, Salsa, Rock, Dub, Dancehall & Ragga.  I might have forgotten some!

Zalama Crew live @ Negra Noche - Parque Cultura Nocturno 2013 - Medellin - Beaver on the Beats

The performance of this collective was really energetic and engaging – especially with the individual and combined vocals and raps of the 4 different singers and MCs moving around the stage.

Zalama Crew concert in Medellin, Colombia 2013

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Those singers and MCs + the interesting sounds mixedup by DJ Cronic + the instrumentation &  musicianship of the band  = a really cool mix of diverse and original sounds.

Zalama Crew live @ Negra Noche - Parque Cultura Nocturno 2013 - Medellin - Beaver on the BeatsZalama Crew live @ Negra Noche del Parque Cultura Nocturno 2013 - Medellin - Beaver on the Beats

I am loving all the VJ’s in the Colombian fusion bands I’ve been catching live – and VJ Paul Dub from Zalama Crew was no exception.  Very cool, interesting, beautiful visuals.

Zalama Crew live @ Negra Noche - Parque Cultura Nocturno 2013 - Medellin - Beaver on the BeatsZalama Crew live @ Negra Noche - Parque Cultura Nocturno 2013 - Medellin - Beaver on the Beats

I loved most of the songs Zalama Crew played at Negra Noche – and my body wanted to dance.  There were a couple of the slower songs I was less into, but the performance was still stellar and kept my eyes and ears glued to the stage every moment.

Zalama Crew were simply awesome.

I have Zalama Crew’s EP Everyday Fight to take home with me and check out – but I imagine the live experience of this group is where the most magic is at– like I always hope it will be with any musician.

Short video of Zalama Crew’s show here…

 

On top of my Zalama Crew find – Negra Noche introduced me to 2 other phenomenal bands – 1 fusion band and 1 band as traditional as they come.

2. BIG BAND TENNESSEE JAZZ UNIVERSITY

The Big Band Tennessee Jazz University – a big band from the University of Tennessee in the U.S. – put on an incredible show of funk and jazz music.  The quality of the musicianship was stellar, as was the fun and energetic stage show.

Big Band Jazz Tennessee University @ la Negra Noche de Parque Cultura Nocturno 2013 - Medellin - Beaver on the Beats

Big Band Jazz Tennessee University

Super short video from the end of the Big Band Jazz Tennessee University concert here…

3. LAS ALEGRES AMBULANCIAS

The 3rd phenomenal act I found, closing Negra Noche, was Las Alegres Ambulancias.

Las Alegres Ambulancias @ Negra Noche - Parque Cultura Nocturno 2013 - Medellin - Beaver on the BeatsLas Alegres Ambulancias @ Negra Noche - Parque Cultura Nocturno 2013 - Medellin - Beaver on the Beats

Las Alegres Ambulancias hail from San Basilio de Palenque, a town on the Colombian Caribbean Coast.  The Palenqueras are special in that they have completely preserved the African traditions and language originaly bought to that region of Colombia with the slaves during the Spanish conquest.

The music of Las Alegres Ambulancias was traditional Palenquera music, pure as they come.

Las Alegres Ambulancias @ Negra Noche - Parque Cultura Nocturno 2013 - Medellin - Beaver on the BeatsLas Alegres Ambulancias @ Negra Noche - Parque Cultura Nocturno 2013 - Medellin - Beaver on the BeatsLas Alegres Ambulancias @ Negra Noche - Parque Cultura Nocturno 2013 - Medellin - Beaver on the Beats

It was a really special show for me, and everyone else in the audience, especially proud Palenqueras.

Negra Noche del Parque Cultura Nocturno 2013 - Medellin - Beaver on the BeatsLa Negra Noche del Parque Cultura Nocturno 2013 - Medellin - Beaver on the Beats

And note Las Alegres Ambulancias’ beautiful female bass player:

Las Alegres Ambulancias @ Negra Noche - Parque Cultura Nocturno 2013 - Medellin - Beaver on the Beats

Video of Las Alegres Ambulancias’ show here…

Ever so happy I took myself out to friendly, good vibes, open air Negra Noche to experience 3 incredible shows by 3 special bands new to me.

Zalama Crew + Big Band Tennessee Jazz University + Las Alegres Ambulancias – muchas gracias!

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