1. Rapsodia del Chinito
3. Zaire Pop
4. Me Voy de la Vida
5. Salsa con Tabaco
1. La Negra Saramuya
2. Banana de Queso
3. Baila Felipe
5. Ponchito de Colores
6. Mi Soncito
Afrosound’s third full-length LP is a sought-after collector’s record because it’s full of funky, crazy tropical afro-psychedelia with a reputation for being one of Discos Fuentes freakiest releases of the 1970s. With vintage synths, fuzz-wah guitar and Fruko’s heavy bass, “Carruseles” is a wild carousel ride of cumbia and salsa that has now been lovingly reissued in replica form for today’s Colombian music connoisseurs to rediscover.
First time reissue. 180g vinyl.
Afrosound was born from the desire of Discos Fuentes vice-president José María Fuentes to come up with a domestic version of the emerging African and Latin rock sounds coming from outside the country, inspired by groups like Osibisa and Santana. The mission was to emulate the guitar-heavy tropical sounds emanating from Perú and Ecuador at the time. According to various sources, the 1972 tune ‘La danza de los mirlos’ (by Peru’s Los Mirlos) emerged as a great success in Colombia and with it a new way of interpreting the country’s most famous musical export, namely cumbia, through a Peruvian perspective. In their perpetual competition with Sonolux, Fuentes executives gathered a veteran team of musicians the following year to address this musical “invasion” from Peru because they sensed a potential for similar success.
Released in 1974, Afrosound’s “Carruseles” is the band’s third long play and is one of their most sought-after records, with good reason. The recording continues the fantastic mix of psychedelic guitar, exotic keyboards, deep bass and heavy Afro-Caribbean rhythms of its predecessors, but this time around the band really stretches out on a couple of numbers, making it arguably their most experimental and entertaining.
Once again Fruko is at the helm in the studio, simultaneously holding it down and allowing the musicians to explore their most spaced-out fantasies. His trusty mentor, Mario “Pachanga” Rincón, returns to the mixing console, pulling all sorts of sonic tricks with edits, panning, reverb and echo, and everyone sounds as if they are having a lot of fun, not least Wilson Saoko with his usual playful and wigged-out vocal bits that float over everything like some sort of twisted inner consciousness.
Add to this the occasional drum machine, Moog, and Mellotron and you have a formula for a truly unique hybrid unprecedented at the time in Colombia. What makes this afro-sonic experiment so captivating is the inherent contradictions and contrasts within the formula itself, mixing as it does conventional Latin forms like cumbia, pasebol, son pregón, descarga and salsa with rock, funk and African music as well as unclassifiable studio improvisations.
The miracle is that Fuentes trusted the house musicians and their engineer enough to not only let them make a record, but to keep on producing releases through the decade and into the next, yielding a treasure trove of tunes, with “Carruseles” being the crown jewel on top.
Though the original LP has been difficult and expensive to acquire in recent years due to its holy grail status, thankfully now it has been remastered from the original tapes, with its original “cheesecake” artwork intact, and made available for today’s Colombian music connoisseurs to rediscover.