Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Vallenato/Cumbia: Felipe Pelaez, Renzo Guerrero

To my own suprise I noticed we've never written about the wonderful carribean music called vallenato. It's sun-drenched and joyful afro-latin folk, very popular in its native Colombia. You'll recognize it by the distinct sounds of the accordion, the guacharaca and thumping African drums.
One song that recently caught my attention (though technically more merengue than vallenato) is "Borracha" by Felipe Peláez. Hasty guitar plucking, quick-paced congas and a contagious chorus is all it takes to make this one of the feel-good factors in my summer!

Renzo Guerrero is in a totally different music segment (namely commercial Peruvian cumbia) but his song "Vuelvo A Buscarte" has a very similar vibe. I hear sea, sand and sun in a farily typical tropical-pop song. But the sheer positivism of the song lifts it above the mass:

Vuelvo a buscarte
Para encontrar tu cariño
Y que me vuelvas con un beso
La felicidad

Heart-warming? Nah. Corny? Maybe. Uplifting? Definitely! And admit it: you HAVE to move your feet (or at least gently swing your hips) to songs like these.

Post Code:

Felipe Pelaez - Borracha mp3
Renzo Guerrero - Vuelvo A Buscarte mp3

Felipe Pelaez - Borracha

Renzo Guerrero - Vuelvo A Buscarte


jeanluc said...

Is the first example also filed under Champeta? Feels a little like...

Chapín said...

I never heard of Champeta music, you tell me!

Anonymous said...

The Felipe song sounds a lot like soca...good stuff.

jeanluc said...

Some old school records from Africa came to Colombia where they git influneces from and formed a new style "Champeta". African popmusic elementes from Congo, Nigeria, Kenya in a typical colombian interpretation... often as DJ presentation...

Best overview via

Miriam said...

That song "Borracha" sounds a lot like Juan Luis Guerra's "Fogarate" to me. "Fogarate" is a remake of Diblo Dibala's song "Amour Et Souvenir" which is Soukous. The influence sounds like Soukous to me.

Chapín said...

At least we agree it's African influence :) Could it be that Soukous was part of the inspiration for Champeta?

mecano said...

Felipe Pleaez music is not champeta is Vallenato-merrengue, you see he use a "Acordeon" in his music this is Vallenato-Merengue

jeanluc said...

That's why I was asking... Yes, it is vallenato... but when there is the guitar with the kind merengue it remembers me to Champeta, sounds similar to other tunes i heard - that's all.

At first I thought is is only soukous, but a bigger part of the influences came from highlife music, compared to what I have heard from champeta. And also Kenya they are interested in... (similar to rumba congolaise).

That's a strange mixture because the Nigeria music scene has nothing to do with the music scene from Congo. Also the music/rhythm is completly different.

And in the tune above it is just this soukous guitar without any soukous rhythm.

The Champeta DJs/musicians are a little more retro oriented.

It changed over the years... Today in Congo they play N'Dombolo (based on a strong pumping rhythm, while 15 years ago at Soukous the melodic guitar was in the foreground).

chowfan said...

Renzo..is my brother...your music is around the latin pop,rock, balada...in your next album there are many rythms, inclusive Huayno and folk...he is an artist very interesting in Peru..!!!

Thanks for the post...

Búkarus said...

Wait! The only resemblance that "Borracha" has with any vallenato song is the presence of an accordion, which doesn't even sounds like a vallenato's accordion. In my opinion, this is pure dominican merenge. For those who didn't know, original dominican merenge uses accordions too.
I'm from Bucaramanga (short named Búcara) and I can't understand why this song is filed within vallenatos in a site from my own city, where vallenato is so very popular.
"Borracha" is a very "chévere" song but it does not have the vallenato's typical cadenza.
In the other hand, that Renzo Guerrero's song "Vuelvo a buscarte" is not a cumbia, it's new rythm called Tropical-Pop that was born in Colombia stimulated by Carlos Vives' excellent vallenato-pop style. Tropical-pop does have that taste of vallenato that makes you move your hips side to side.

Chapín said...

Thanks Búkarus, I'll adjust the article. I appreciate your comment very much - I'm not a native latino, and know only of latin music from being in Central America; so most South American music is a mystery to me. Especially the Colombia/Venezuela/Ecuador region. Though I have to argument that for being called a merengue, "Borracha" doesn't have the right rhythm imho.