Ondatropica en Bogota


My fellow pelangueros know that every time I go to Bogota, I come back raving about some incredibly magical musical experience, the kind that you couldn’t have planned, the kind that you probably shouldn’t try to repeat, the kind that made us want to start La Pelanga in the first place. This obviously says more about the incredible depth and breadth of Colombian music today than about my luck. During my trip last month, which was beautiful in more ways than one, I really felt like I was witnessing a historical moment.

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Ondatropica’s album drops tomorrow (7/16). It is an incredible blend of cumbia, salsa, currulao, funk, ska, and even a Black Sabbath cover, with guest appearances by Fruko, Anibal Velasquez, Ana Tijoux, and many others. You can hear the whole album right here. But buy it! Show some gratitude, no?

If you’re lucky enough to be in London (7/20, 7/22), New York (7/27), Los Angeles (7/29), Oristano (8/3), or Berlin (8/4), go see them! Details here.





Joey Pastrana – Rumbón Melón

Here’s a tribute to the great Joey Pastrana who, rumor has it, visits La Pelanga every now and then.


I first heard this song in El Goce Pagano when I was starting to get into salsa in the early 90s. For weeks I wanted to hear it again so bad! But all I could remember about it was the catchy chorus, and I couldn’t even remember the words to that. I turned to the Colombian Google: singing the chorus to every street vendor in downtown Bogotá to see if anyone knew it.

The street was pretty empty (!) and I was having no success. But after a while I found my guy: “Claro, ese es Joey Pastrana: ¡El Rumbón Melón!” He told me to follow him, I asked him where. He said “My warehouse. You know, the police is really cracking down on this street since last week, when they came to harass us, and a colonel was beaten”. (Futbolista grammar! He didn’t need to explain that “us” meant “me” and “was beaten” had something to do with the first person.)

I’m not sure why I trusted the guy. I think it was my empty pockets and his childish enthusiasm for the song. He brought me to the back of this empty warehouse in San Victorino, and sold me the best salsa compilation I own (handpicked by him). I’ll spare you the cover; let me just say that, aside from pirate CDs, he also sold teen pornography.

Enigüey, too much blablabla, here’s the song. One thing that sets it apart for me is the raw enthusiasm: I haven’t heard many bands on record who are this excited to just play some fat salsa. I just found out in this great interview that this, Joey Pastrana’s first album, was recorded three weeks after the band was formed. Maybe that explains it.

Rumbón Melón by Joey Pastrana

Rumbón Melón

– papicultor

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