Last month a guy asked me how i learned that much about cumbia, if i spent that much time into rock/metal/alternative music.. and the answer i gave him was: “well, mom used to play lots of it at home, but later i met tons of musicians including Batata..and every time i could i bought him a beer and he told me rivers of info”..
who? i said: “Batata”!!! and i made me think that probably you guys don’t know who BATATA is?
Paulino Salgado (Batata III) was considered one of the best percussionist of traditional African-Colombian rhythms of all the times, mainly cuz he was unique, the way he hit the “tambora“, his creativity and persistence in teaching the traditional African roots in Colombia. He was born in San Basilio de Palenque (which is the core of all Afro-rhythms in Latin America). His father Manuel Salgado Cañate Reyes (Batata II) was an important chalupa, gaita, bullerengue, lumbalú and cumbia player.
Manu Chao made it ..TOTO made it, P18 made it, and probably more bands and remixes also have covered this one, Paulino aka Batata was the composer of la verdolaga!!!
and Candela viva!! most of the people know these songs famously sang by TOTO la Momposina
I had the chance of partying with him (yes..party!! animal parties !! and he was born in 1927!!!!) many times in a small place in where i saw him playing live with the band.. the place’s name was MUELLE MACKENZIE, and let me explain this…it’s like seeing BB KING playing blues for free every friday/saturday in a bar, or Thelonius Monk playing jazz in a fast food restaurant.. i said this because MUELLE was a restaurant, but they had a live act so good that some of people from what we now know as this “new colombian music” played/danced there..
my good friend Kike Egurrola (Bomba estereo, systema solar, sidestepper, Calle 13) many times also joined batata or stood up as batata asked the “tambora” kike was playing with..
Gaiteros de San Jacinto played in there with him too..and i had the privilege to be introduced by batata to Rafael Cassianis and Victor Cassianis who made me a “tambora” that i keep as my coolest treasure.
Now.. some music!!
well.. dr harvey made his techno version..if you like the fancy “cubilleo” here’s Feat BATATA!!
NOW a WELL DESERVED DOCUMENTARY ABOUT HIM!!! if you are chillin’ at home PLEASE watch it!!!
Then you’ll understand how much African roots mean to Colombian musicians and why we don’t see cumbia as “hip trend” but as a whole heritage.
“TU ERES MI SANGRE” -Paulino Salgado a.k.a Batata ( you’re my blood)