Download the free mp3 "Llama" from Monareta's album Picoreto Here
Buy Monareta music on itunes
One of the things that I really wanted to do with this blog was to turn it into a platform for an entire community of like minded labels. Lord knows there is no shortage of great companies who are "fighting the good fight" in order to bring interesting and eclectic music out into the world.
Last week, we brought you a track from the Bay Area's Om Records and today we are fortunate enough to have a track from the great Nacional Records label. Quite simply, Nacional is the premier label working out of North America focusing on the many shades and styles of Alternative Latin music. From Manu Chao to Nortec Collective to Aterciopelados to many, many more great artists, Nacional has consistently proven that there is much more to Latin music than salsa, J-Lo, Ricky Martin and Reggaeton.
I'm always happy when I get a package in the mail from Nacional but of late, I am particularly enjoying a recent release of theirs from Bogotá's Monareta. This is smart and funky Latin electronica at it's finest and we're pleased to be sharing a track with you. As with any of releases we feature here at Global Noize, if you like what you hear, be sure to dig deeper into the record and support the labels and artists who are generous enough to offer these songs for you.
Picotero is at once intelligent and danceable—a unique fusion of styles refined over several years since composer, producer and vocalist Andres Martinez started mixing break beats and hip hop flows with live keyboard performances by Camilo Sanabria. The duo quickly became popular in clubs and electronic music festivals throughout their hometown of Bogotá.
Taking their name from the brand of BMX bike they rode avidly as kids, Monareta makes music that is influenced by a lot of what was cool to them in those formative years. Martinez explains, “Growing up, even as young as 11, I was really involved in the local freestyle street bike scene. All the street bikers in Colombia were heavily influenced by the break dance and electric boogaloo arriving from the U.S. We heard groups like the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy and they completely changed our lives. And so that’s how we got the name for our group: It’s a homage to the `80s break dance, hip hop, BMX and the fashion scene that came from abroad to influence us in South America.”
Once Monareta had begun to develop their sound, Martinez received a Fulbright scholarship to pursue a Master of Arts in composition and film scoring at New York University. He moved from Bogotá to New York City and immersed himself in the local music scenes. Monareta found an especially receptive crowd in Brooklyn and Martinez integrated what he was learning with his studies into the group’s cinematic sound.
While fellow Colombians Sidestepper combine electronic music with salsa, Monareta mixes electronic music with cumbia and champeta, the Afro-Colombian genre native to the streets of the country’s Caribbean coast. They also incorporate the reggae, dub and calypso sounds popular in the coastal cities. On Picotero, the track “Llama” especially illustrates this fusion, where the cumbia upbeat flows seamlessly with a reggae groove and dub vocals.
Recently, the group has split time living in Colombia and Brooklyn, while performing across the U.S. Earlier this year, Monareta showcased at South by Southwest and North by Northeast in Toronto.
Monareta on Myspace