Carlos Vives Releases Indigenous Roots-Inspired Album “Cumbiana”

Carlos Vives is going back to his roots…

The 58-year-old Colombian singer-songwriter has released his latest album, Cumbiana, a search for the indigenous roots of Colombian music. 

Carlos Vives

The album has been described as “exuberant, soulful, beautiful and important without ever sounding overbearing,” by Billboard.

The album features duets with Jessie ReyezRuben Blades and Alejandro Sanz,and ittreads that line between what’s commercial and what’s artistic.

“I discovered a lost world. That’s the truth,” Vives simply states, speaking from his home in Bogota, where he’s been in lockdown for the past two months.

“We’ve always spoken about our African heritage in music,” he adds. “We’ve always thought that the most uplifting elements of our music came from Africa or from European rhythms like polka. But it turns out it comes from Andean, or indigenous music. This album highlights the joy of the fusion of African, European and indigenous music.”

Marrying Colombia’s past with the future, Cumbianahas already delivered a chart hit with “No Te Vayas.” Edgier still is current single “For Sale,” a mix of traditional beats with reggaeton, a touch of rap and Sanz’s flamenco strains. Of course, Vives wrote the rulebook for Colombian fusion.

His 1994 album, La Tierra Del Olvido, where he marries Colombia’s most traditional folk beats — vallenato, cumbiaporro— with rock guitars and drums and pop sensibility, is the original blueprint of the sound that would later define the work of acts like JuanesFonseca and even Shakira at times.

But Cumbiana expands its realm. So much so that this is the first of a three-album project.

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