2017 ARTIST LINEUP
Direct from Colombia
Fruko Y Sus Tesos
Julio Ernesto “Fruko” Estrada is one of the founders of Colombian salsa. The legendary musician, arranger and bandleader began his musical career at the age of 15 as a studio musician for the famous Discos Fuentes label in Medellín. He spent time in New York City during the early days of Fania where he was influenced by Richie Ray, Willie Colon, Ray Barretto, and Eddie Palmieri. Returning to Colombia, he formed Fruko y sus Tesos and worked with many artists molding the emerging salsa scene. The band has recorded over 42 albums since they began in 1969. Fruko discovered the great vocalist Joe Arroyo in 1973 and made him the band’s singer. In 1998, he wrote the team song: “La Pachanga Del Futbol” for the Colombian National team’s appearance in the World Cup. He is celebrating his 51st year as a salsa musician.
Totó la Momposina
Totó La Momposina’s entire life has been dedicated to representing the music of Colombia’s Caribbean coastline. As a singer, dancer and teacher she embodies that fertile place where Colombia’s African, Indigenous Indian and Spanish cultures mingle to create a unique musical tradition. Totó is not only its greatest interpreter, but also a restless innovator. Born into a family of musicians spanning five generations, Totó learned to sing and dance as a child. Her father was a drummer, her mother a singer and dancer; their household lived with the musical traditions of la costa. Totó continues to work tirelessly to promote the folkloric music of Colombia. 2006 She has been presented with both a WOMEX Lifetime Achievement Award and a Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Singer and multi-instrumentalist Checo Acosta is known as “The Prince of Carnival” for the huge number of carnival songs he has written and performed since forming his orchestra in 1988. He’s recorded over two dozen albums, including his latest, “A bailar de todo”, which includes the 2017 Barranquilla Carnival hits “Checo carnavalero” and “Modo carnaval.” Checo Acosta has toured extensively in the United States and around the world, including Spain, Venezuela, Ecuador, Canada, Costa Rica, Chile and Panama. He’ll recreate the Barranquilla experience in Chicago with his full show band including costumes, folkloric dancers and La Cumbiamba A Son De Millo, a 30 piece dance troupe.
Pastor López, known as “El Indio Pastor,” is a Venezuelan singer and songwriter who works primarily in the style of cumbia. Many of the songs he has recorded over his 30 year musical career are interpretations of works associated with Peruvian cumbia, including Cariñito sin mi, Bonita y Mentirosa, and Traicionera. His popularity has not been limited to Venezuela and Colombia, but spans the United States, Canada, Spain, the UK, and other countries. He was one of the foremost recording stars for the legendary record label Discos Fuentes.
Los Embajadores Del Vallenato
Los Embajadores Vallenatos were formed in Valledupar, Colombia by the duo of accordion player Ramiro Colmenares and singer Robinson Damian. They are among the most successful and long lasting vallenato groups, having released their first self-titled album in 1982, launching a long string of hits including La juntera, El plomo, Esperando tú amor, La pisinga, Sindicado de amor, Tomando por ella and El Santo Cachón. leading to immense popularity in both Colombia and throughout Latin America. They followed that initial release with 15 more hit albums over the next two decades.
Born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, salsa singer Jorge Maldonado has been immensely popular in Colombia since he took over the role of singer in the legendary Sonora Mantancera and that group visited the country in 1978 on the strength of his songs Mala Mujer and Bailen Con La Punta Del Pie. He left Matancera in 1981 to pursue a career that included time in the charanga group Orquesta Broadway and a 1994 self-titled solo album. Dividing his time between New York City and San Juan, Puerto Rico, Maldonado remains a powerful singer and favorite of salsa lovers everywhere.
Founded in 2001, Explosión Nega represents a new evolution in Colombian music. They come from the Pacific coast region of Choco, where a strong African heritage gives life to local rhythms like bunde, flageolet and currulao. Explosión Negra fuses this rich heritage with modern sounds like hip hop, dancehall, reggae, soca and electronics to achieve a contagious sound that has made its way onto dancefloors from Paris to Sydney to Los Angeles, attracting the attention of the Global Bass DJ movement. Their latest album, “Levántate”, received a Latin Grammy nomination for Best Tropical Fusion album in 2016.
Los Rolling Ruanas
What do you get when you cross acoustic Andean instruments with a contemporary, rock attitude? Bogotá’s Los Rolling Raunas. Mindful that rock music grew out of folk, blues, country and other rural music in the U.S., the group applies the same principal to the music of the Colombian Andes. They started out by covering Beatles and Rolling Stones songs, but have since developed a creative approach to writing original songs that remain firmly attached to their carranga roots, leading to a fresh new sound.
The former lead singer for two popular Colombian rock bands, Akash and Doble Via, Roberto Munard embarked on a solo career in 2015 with a romantic, more pop oriented approach. The singer-songwriter and guitarist has since released several hit songs in Colombia and Latin America, including Una vez más, Si sueño contigo and Mi destino.
Born in Medellin, singer, songwriter and actress Farina comes from a long musical family whose roots go back to the Middle East and China. Her eclectic heritage of Caribbean, Arabic, Chinese and Andean descendants is a distinct influence on her sound and style setting her apart from many of her contemporaries. In 2017, she was one of three artists nominated for the Artist of Tomorrow campaign in conjunction with the 59th GRAMMY Awards. Her new song, Mejor que yo, was recently released worldwide.
Lucho Morales Y Su Fiesta Vallenata
Lucho Morales y su Fiesta Vallenato, originally from Colombia but now based in the U.S., have been one of the genre’s most popular performers for over nine years and are dedicated to preserving and performing this vital folk music from Colombia’s Caribbean valley region between the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and the Serranía de Perijá.
Orly Certain El Gordito de Oro de Salsa
Johan Roa Letzing Vallenato
Born in Barranquilla and residing in New York, Johan Roa is a rising star in vallenato music. He recorded his first album Tu Primera Vez in Barranquilla in 2005 with the help of veteran musicians Hollman Salazar and José Vasquez. A second album, Rainfall, was released in 2008. He performs frequently throughout the northeast U.S., including Colombian festivals in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, sharing stages with Lizandro Meza, El Torito and Elvis Martinez El Camaron. His 2017 album, Conquistando Fronteras, contains 10 original vallenatos and a bonus bachata.
Monica La Diva Del Vallenato
The Grand Parade – Featuring Congo Grande Comprasa
2017 ARTIST LINEUP
Carpacho Y Su Super Combo
The group started in 1986 in Chicago with the idea of integrating the band with musicians from various countries. The objective was to demonstrate the typical sound of music of each Latin American country (primarily salsa, merenque, cumbia and bolero) with musicians from the United States, Puerto Rico and Ecuador, all led by Roberto ‘Carpacho’ Marin from Medellin, Colombia. They have shared the stage with Grupo Niche, Joe Arroyo, La Sonora Tropical, El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, Oscar de Leon and many, many more.
Tierra Colombiana Folkloric Dance Company
Tierra Colombiana was founded in 1992 by Guilibaldo Criollo, Martha Jiménez and Gabriel Rodríguez. Its mission is to present and promote the artistic culture of Colombia in all its authenticity through dance, music and theater. As the premier Colombian folklore company in Chicago and the Midwest, Tierra Colombiana encourages fresh, artistic creativity to present and promote the dynamics of the Colombian culture as expressed by the character of the people, across geographic lines. Through the rich and pure mediums of music and dance, the social diversity of Colombia can be translated to all.