Raul Monsalve Y Los Forajidos – Bichos
- EU - Original
Ancestral Afro-Venezuelan rhythms meet futuristic Latin jazz, raw funk and afrobeat on Raúl Monsalve y Los Forajidos’ exhilarating new ‘Bichos’ album for Olindo Records. Venezuelan bassist Raúl Monsalve leads an all-star ensemble of musical trailblazers including “the voice of Venezuela” Betsayda Machado, singer Luzmira Zerpa (Family Atlantica) and drummer Dave De Rose (Agile Experiments, Moloko, Mark Ronson). Raúl has dedicated himself to studying traditional Afro-Venezuelan music and learning from its masters, whilst also absorbing the sounds emanating from the fearless edges of jazz, rock, African and early electronic music. Since moving to Europe, he has toured with Nigerian sax legend Orlando Julius, the Heliocentrics, and members of Fela Kuti’s Afrika 70. With producer/engineer/drummer Malcolm Catto (Heliocentrics, Quantic, Yussef Kamaal) behind the recording and mixing desk, Raul brought together a like-minded cast of friends from Venezuela, Paris and London, to help him create a fresh sound, capturing the essence of both the African and indigenous roots of Venezuelan music, and the forward-looking sounds of afrobeat, gritty Latin jazz and experimental electronic music. ‘Bichos’, Spanish for ‘vermin’, ‘bugs’, ‘beasts’ but also used in Venezuela to refer to someone as a “nasty piece of work”, draws all these strands together. The album uses a variety of animals, such as the mosquito, butterfly, pig, snake, rooster and flea, to represent a wide range of human qualities, like greed, hate, love & compassion, and their impact on Venezuelan and worldwide corruption & division, the strengths of friendship, family, collaboration, rebellion and survival. The ancient to future direction of Raul’s music is best captured on album opener “Malembe”, featuring Venezuelan folk group Vasallos Del Sol chanting over a razortooth synth bass, and “La Mariposa” (the butterfly), featuring singer Lya Bonilla. The Afro Venezuelan ‘sangueo’, a traditional invocation to dance in celebration of Saint John the Baptist, is given a brand new funk. The polyrhythmic quitiplás percussion of Monsalve’s home country, created by hammering the ground with various lengths of bamboo tubes in a particular manner, compliments the afrobeat-feel of “Bocón”, where Family Atlantica’s Luzmira Zerpa leads the call-and-response. Acclaimed singer, Betsayda Machado, is magnificent on the Afro Venezuelan funk of “Mosquito”, attacking the “blood-sucking” politicians afflicting populations across the world, but particularly in Venezuela. Closing the record, “Pa’ Los Maestros” is a funked-up cha-cha groove dedicated to the maestros, or masters, of Afro-Latin culture and music. “Bichos” is not only a superb introduction to Raúl Monsalve, but also to a swathe of incredible musicians you might still be unfamiliar with. It’s also a brilliant window into the rich musical seam of Venezuelan music, and an excellent look at how it might interconnect with wider musical parallels.
|A5.||Palo De Agua||Afrocódigos|
|B2.||La Mariposa||Lya Bonilla|
|B3.||Los Tres Venenos||Rafa Pino|
|B4.||Pa' Los Maestros|
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