Vancouver’s Folk Music Festival is an amazingly eclectic showcase of bands from around the world – the perfect place to discover young bands before they blow up on the international scene. On their first Canadian tour, Trad.Attack! were hands-down one of the standout acts at this year’s festival. Mixing ancient Estonian folk music with punk rock virility, they have transformed the Baltic scene and are ready to take over the world – one country at a time. They also happen to be hilarious and very skilled in the Canadian language. Hear an exclusive Wandering Rhythms interview with Trad.Attack! right here:
Impromptu background music provided by another Folk Fest delight, Betsayda Machado y la Parranda el Clavo, on their first tour to el norte:
Venezuelan brothers Javier and Victor Badillo of the band Caracas have been rockin’ the Vancouver music scene for years, and the jubilant energy of Latin punk rock still inspires their every power chord and air punch. Catch ’em on Wandering Rhythms as they perform live tracks, present their electric new Bring on the Playtime EP, and discuss the dire situation unfolding back home in Venezuela. This is music to uplift!
La Gallera Social Club @ Vancouver Folk Festival. Twin brother attack!
La Gallera Social Club are one of the freshest bands to hit my ears and eyes in quite some time. Incorporating many deep Afro-Latin rhythms from the Caribbean coast of Venezuela with the aesthetic of ’60s psych meets time-warped EDM. Más bueno que comer con los dedos!!
Hear an exclusive interview with Alexis Romero, guitarist/vocalist of La Gallera Social Club, RIGHT HERE, por favor.
This week we visit the nation that never was but probably should be: Guyane, sur le bord du jungle amazone.
Devil’s Island: the Alcatraz of South America
French Guiana – the only piece of South America still held in custody by their colonial mother-in-law. The other Guys have all been set free… qu’est ce qu’il y a la France? Still bitter about losing Haiti? Oh right, you needed somewhere to build a spaceport. Politics aside, French Guiana is well worthy of a sonic exploration; and so we find ourselves back in the almighty Amazon, the sacred lungs of our momma Earth.
Though native South Americans still survive in pockets of the rainforest, the quarter-million humans in French Guiana are primarily of African or mixed ancestry, living either in isolated communities where drumming traditions are preserved, or in smallish coastal cities like Cayenne and Kourou, where the traditions mix with modern sounds to form a frenetic hybrid style called aléké.
Still, much of the music has a distinct Caribbean vibe. Roots reggae is a powerful force in the region, and the best-known local musicians play some variation of it. The biggest international star, Prince Koloni, plays both aléké and reggae.. perhaps they will one day fuse into a distinctly amazonian sound smash.
Hear drums of focused fury, laid back skankin’, and some unexpected twists on the French Guianese special.
If you have yet to fall under its spell, check out this thoughtful introduction to the genre by a couple classy Peruvian soundsmiths:
Now dance to this like a shamanic space traveler: