"Salsamuffin" with France's Sergent Garcia
French band Sergent Garcia releases its long-awaited album Contre Vents et Marées (Come hell or high water) today. The band's founder Bruno Garcia, pioneer of a musical genre he calls "salsamuffin", shares his passion for Latino and Afro-Caribbean music with us. After all, "nearly all the rhythms we dance to come from Africa and the Caribbean islands".
The album was meant to be recorded on a floating studio the band is building on an old sailing boat El Guakamayo. It will set sail from Valencia in Spain and head to the Caribbean, recording local musicians on the way.
One of the aims of the project is to "record, investigate and rescue rhythms [which are under threat], like buyerengue and changui," Garcia explains.
He's as nomadic musician and has spent the last 15 years touring Latin America and the Caribbean, drawn to what he calls this "natural musical laboratory", with its rich heritage of rhythms passed on through native Americans and Africans.
As the boat's renovation is taking a bit longer than planned, this new album ended up being recorded in Cuba, Spain and Colombia. It wasn't easy but Garcia says it has an unpredictable energy and spontaneity about it.
The track El Almanecer (sunrise) stands out, showing how close the cumbia rhythm from the Atlantic coast of Colombia is to Jamaican reggae and ska. "It's like a bridge between Jamaica and Colombia," says Garcia. "You don"t know if you're listening to ska or cumbia." And that's where the magic lies.
Sergent Garcia is currently touring France and Belgium: follow the band on Facebook.
Their album is sponsored by RFI as part of its RFI Talent programme. They perform at Paris's Pan Piper on 28 October.
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