On 'Mi Herencia,' Rebolu Mix Afro-Colombian Traditions with NYC Energy
Rebolu, the Queens-based Latin-funk group at the forefront of NYC’s New Colombian Music Movement, will release their new album Mi Herencia (My Heritage), May 13th and the album is available for pre-order today.
Listen to "Los Herederos (The Heirs)"
Combining the Afrocentric rhythms and salsa-inspired music of Colombia’s Caribbean coast with the urban energy and multiculturalism of NYC, the Colombian and Colombian-American musicians of Rebolu created Mi Herencia to explore the rich traditions of their community. The songs are reflections on family, the passing down of traditions, and the idea of home - stories told through shared immigrant experiences expressed as songs of joy, sadness, love, desire, and celebration - and come together to present a remarkably optimistic worldview made all the more necessary by the pandemic.
The band says it best: “Rebolu is a party! A wild, but not chaotic, party. A confluence of sound and energy reflecting the intensity of our urban life and the need to create music for the world based on our folklore and heritage.”
Rebolu, consisting of vocalists / multi-instrumentalists (and husband and wife) Ronald Polo and Johanna Castañeda, and percussionists Morris Cañate (percussionist, tambor) and Erica “Kika” Parra (percussionist, drummer), was formed by Polo and Cañate in 2007, amidst the Colombian music scene that had been expanding in NYC since the 1990s. The two initially met as childhood friends in Barranquilla, where Cañate comes from one of the most revered lineages of Afro-Colombian drummers in the area. They were both imbued with deep respect for ancestral knowledge and traditional communal values from West and Central African sources, and when they arrived in NYC, they began regularly providing Black Atlantic and Caribbean rhythms and melodies to projects from their fellow Colombian artists. As Rebolu evolved, Castañeda and Parra were brought on to further the band’s musical complexity (think: cumbia and rumba to rap, funk, jazz, and other international styles) and add their own perspectives on topics ranging from the Colombian diaspora to family and parenting.
On Mi Herencia (My Heritage), the ten original Spanish-language songs tackle those topics as well as new subjects ranging from Black Lives Matter and financial instability to seaside romance and the joy of children - the second song, “Cumbia Sabrosa,” is exuberantly sung by seven-year old Melody Polo! Yet despite the varied subject matter, the album comes together with a cohesive vibrancy that’s inspired by the aesthetics of the annual Carnaval de Barranquilla.