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Piconema: East African Hits On The Colombian Coast

by Rocafort Records



This compilation takes us on a journey to the Colombian coast where the passion for African music burns bright. It's impossible to understand this love affair without first looking to San Basilio de Palenque - the first free town in colonial Latin America, established in 1691 as a place of refuge and autonomy for black slaves. It's a place where pride in African heritage and culture could be kept alive, just 50 km away from Cartagena de Indias.

The Afro Caribbeans' connection to their roots gave rise to the “picós” - artisanal, high-powered sound systems akin to those found in Jamaica. These music aficionados have a keen ear for African melodies, leading to a vibrant collector's scene that brought Afro sounds to the streets of Barranquilla, Cartagena, and Santa Marta. This compilation showcases the best of Kenyan Benga music - a unique style with a distinct guitar-picking method that draws from traditional instruments like the nyatiti and orutu. Learn everything about the history and stories behind these African tracks, from the carefully guarded "exclusives" to the piconema - the practice of renaming songs in Spanish based on their lyrics or the reaction of the dancefloor.

The project has been led by Spanish vinyl collector Joan Pujol aka Golfo De Guinea surrounded by a team of passionate music lovers including Don Alirio, a musicologist from Barranquilla who offered a coastal perspective, and George Ouma, a Kenyan DJ, collector, and Benga advocate who helped with track selection and securing rights. The result is a compilation that captures the joy and energy of sub-Saharan polyrhythm, bringing together a vibrant mix of genres that are sure to move your feet. So sit back, turn up the volume, and let yourself be transported to the vibrant streets of the Colombian coast and the shores of Lake Victoria.


released July 20, 2023

Compiled by Golfo De Guinea & George Ouma
Linernotes by Don Alirio
English translation by Dominic Andrews
Tracks remastered by Prades Mastering
Artwork by Nze Esono Ebale
Layout by Oriol Batalla


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