Richard Blair – Musical Experience of the Week

My musical experiences in Bogota this week were of different types and qualities.

The best one?  Well it wasn’t really fusion music. It wasn’t even a live band.

It was a DJ set by Richard Blair: Producer and Engineer;  Founder of Sidestepper, a very successful Colombian fusion music band; and an artist well recognised and respected both in and outside of Colombia as one of the first pioneers of Colombian fusion music.

Richard Blair - Sidestepper

Richard Blair – Sidestepper

Sidestepper @ WOMADelaide

Sidestepper @ WOMADelaide

Sidestepper I have more to say about later.  There is also much I could tell you about the incredible artists Blair has worked with in his career (including my all time favorite Colombian artist, the divine Toto La Momposina).

Blair´s DJ Set this week was part of a high quality electronic music program called ´Conectados´.

Richard Blair

Richard Blair

Conectados is just one of many musical and other arts projects run by Fundacion Cultural Arca – a non-profit organisation in Bogota, set up to support artists in a variety of ways, and to develop international cultural exchanges. The Foundation runs Conectados in association with Fundación Gilberto Alzate Avendaño, a part of the Colombian Ministry of Culture and Tourism, also dedicated to supporting and promoting indepèndent music and other arts projects in Colombia.

So why was a DJ set the best musical experience of the week?

Richard Blair - DJ Set - Conectados - 2013 - www.beaveronthebeats.com

  • It wasn’t reggeaton, with only touches of pure reggae, being played in a bar which is supposedly a ‘reggae’ bar. More about the sickly reggeaton plague another day.
  • It wasn’t musicians playing on a very dirty, busy, public road called La Septima.
  • It wasn’t bad quality live music like I heard played by one Latin fusion band on Friday night.
  • The crowd wasn’t rude, noisy or disrespectful  like I experienced at Rock al Parque or at countless other gigs in my life.

What is was, is this:

  • high quality musicsuper tasty vintage, vinyl dub and reggae.

Richard Blair DJ Set in Bogota - Beaver on the Beats

  • high quality mixing, sampling and turntabling by Blair.
  • high quality sound in the venue.
  • a beautiful, ambient outdoor patio space in a colonial building filled with a respectful, appreciative audience.

All those things made for a lovely musical and human experience.

The only surreal thing about the Richard Blair gig was sitting down on chairs with the rest of the ‘audience’, to watch a DJ play music. No matter for me though. It was still awesome to listen to, and there is plenty of time for dancing to tasty dub and reggae in Jamaica next week! 🙂

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