If there’s one world-music band that should make it big this year then its La Chiva Gantiva. Or how three Colombians in Brussels explored their roots.
Those who leave their country take a piece of it with them and what better way to do so than through music?
That’s what Rafael Espinel thought too, when he came to study art in Brussels in 2005.
In the house where he was living were other students from his homeland.
The three made music together in-between their studies. 'One of us studied theatre, the others were active in art', says Espinel. ‘There was often a party vibe at our house and so we quite naturally ended up in the bars of Brussels. From there it was a small step to the smaller festivals and once we were on top of our repertoire it seemed time to record some songs. The 5 song EP Apretao was released at the end of 2008 and that helped us further, to the big festivals.’
So it was that La Chiva Gantiva - named after founding member Natalia Gantiva - already appeared at Couleur Cafe and Esperanzah, and at big festivals in Germany and France.
La Chiva Gantiva makes fusion music. The basis is Colombian cumbia but with a modern touch. ‘We want to generate festive energy’, explains Espinel. ‘We absolutely don’t want to sound like the latino bands that you often see here at festivals. It contains folklore, and afrobeat, and rock. A bit of everything actually.’
Those who want to get an idea can view a concert-collage on the band’s website. www.lachivagantiva.com
It’s a multi-coloured mishmash, with a Fleming, a Walloon, a Frenchman and a Vietnamese in the band too. ‘And we often welcome guests up on stage’, grins Espinel. ‘We feel even better then.’ After growing for five years the band thought it was time to record an album. They ended up choosing Richard Blair: a British producer who worked with Peter Gabriel and Colombian diva Toto La Momposina, and who lives in Colombia.
‘We had him come over to the studio Vega in Avignon. They have very rare recording equipment there. The music is largely recorded live and will be mixed in England. We don’t have a title yet and we’re in the process of choosing a record company.’ (vpb)