On June 25th, Dutty Artz will be releasing Geko Jones and Atropolis present: Palenque Records Remixed. New York City’s Que Bajo boss Geko Jones and Dutty Artz artist Atropolis, frequent visitors to Colombia, celebrate the Afro-Colombian roots music of Palenque by assembling an A-list of global talent (So Shifty, Captain Planet, Matt Shadetek, Chief Boima, Thornato, and more!) to remix the recordings of Lucas Silvaʼs Palenque Records. More on San Basilio de Palenque, the music, and the people involved with the project on the Dutty Artz website.
San Basilio de Palenque is a small autonomous community in Northern Colombia on the outskirts of metropolitan Cartegena. The town was settled by African slaves who escaped bondage from Spanish masters in 1602, and is one of the oldest continually inhabited communities in the Americas. Its strategic geographic location has allowed it to be defended from attacks by outsiders throughout Colombiaʼs history. Its strong and unique local culture has forced subsequent governments to recognize the communityʼs continued contribution to Colombian national identity.
Palenque de San Basilio was proclaimed Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2005.
The Cultural Space of Palenque de San Basilio (Unesco documentary)
Exploring Palenque de San Basilio by Stephanie Claytor
Like many maroon colonies scattered throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, the culture of San Basilio de Palenque has a mix of African, European, and Indigenous American inﬂuences. However, the strong political identity of the community and its diaspora is unmistakably African. So its no wonder that when contemporary Afropop music started to make its way to the Colombian coast through vinyl LPs in the 1970s, it was the Palenqueros who ﬁrst took up this music as a mark of community pride.
Soon, Palenqueros and other Atlantic coast residents made up their own versions of the Afropop and Afro-Caribbean sounds they were hearing, resulting in the popular music called Champeta Criolla. In recent years, various incarnations of Colombian popular music, like Cumbia or Vallenato, have been well-publicized and celebrated internationally. However, the cultural music of San Basilio de Palenque, with an unbroken 400 year-old history that stretches back to the founding of the settlement, remains more obscured.
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For the past decade or so, Palenque Records founder Lucas Silva has done ﬁeld recordings in the town of San Basilio de Palenque of musicians such as Batata, Son Palenque, and Sexteto Tabala. To introduce this music to a wider club-going audience, Silva teamed up with Dutty Artz ambassadors Atropolis and Geko Jones to curate a compilation of remixed works of Palenquero cultural music. The partnership was initiated when Atropolis met Silva, on a trip he took to San Basilio de Palenque with his New York DJ crew Cumba Mela, and the two of them decided to collaborate on a project. Geko Jones, a regular visitor to the Northern coast of Colombia and staunch advocate for Afro-Colombian music, came on board to help curate the compilation. Together, the two reached out to the Dutty Artz extended family for their remixes, with a host of talented producers such as Captain Planet who turns in a wobbly pop banger, So Shifty who are on a hype German-soca tip, Matt Shadetek on a pensive melodic 6/8 run, and DJs Thornato and Chief Boima highlight the Congolese ﬂavor that so inspires the Palenquero community. Geko Jones and Atropolis also submit their own productions, for an ultimate result that is a reﬂection of a continued cultural exchange that exists between New York and Colombia.
For those of you in New York, they will be celebrating the release of this project at the next Que Bajo party at Tammany Hall on Saturday June 25th.
This is the So Shifty remix of Batata y su Rumba Palenquera:
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The release will include 12 tracks, all with beautiful and different atmospheres. If you’re looking for original quality reworks, well produced and mastered, June 25th will be your day ! They’re honestly all great, Matt Shadetek‘s remix especially caught my attention, certainly fitting my tastes of the moment, i just let it play over&over. Built on additional layers of vocals, instruments and beats, the track is wide and occupies the entire panoramic, playing on contrast between the FM gritty bassline and the pure original sounds.
Geko Jones & Atropolis present- Palenque Records Remixed
01 Calabongo (Thornato Remix)
02 Macaco Mata El Toro (So Shifty Remix)
03 Esto es Candela (Captain Planet Remix)
04 Un Solo Pie (Geko Jones & Atropolis Remix)
05 No Habla Na (Chief Boima Remix)
06 Chimbumbe (Atropolis Remix)
07 Ataole (Matt Shadetek Remix)
08 Esto es Candela (Beat Laden Remix)
09 Yo No Puedo Mas (Rafi El Remix)
10 Sambingo (Geko Jones Remix)
11 Macaco (Reaganomics Remix)
12 Adios Batata (Pyrotechnica Remix)
If you want to know more about San Basilio de Palenque and if you’re really French fluent i advise you to take a look at that very interesting and thorough document by Alejandro Saldarriaga, “La musique dans la relation ville/campagne : Cartagena et son Palenque de San Basilio”, La Ville au pluriel.