Cartagena, Colombia!

Early January 2017 and we were performing Orchestra of Samples in Colombia, in the tropical South American coastal city of Cartagena for a special event organised by the Lux Festival.  The event was held outdoors in the city’s old harbour with the stage built next to the replica of the 17th Spanish galleon Bucanero – now a floating museum.

Performing with us were the awesome guitarist Luis Camacho from Cartagena and the incredible percussionist Marlon Marañon, who lives in the capital Bogota, where we’d just flown in from.  So both on the day we arrived, and then the following morning, we took the opportunity to record improvised sessions with the pair for sampling in the project.

Guitarist, composer and arranger Luis Camacho began playing guitar when he was 11, taking things seriously in his early teens with gigs at local rock festivals.  In 2009 he won the regional Colombian Music Stripe at the Media Torta Festival, the same year he gained his master’s certificate in guitar from Berklee College of Music.

He’s recorded with Colombian singer/songwriter and Latin Grammy winner Martín Madera and opened for multi-Grammy winning Argentinian rockstar Fito Paez.  Luis briefly joined Colombian reggae band Alerta Kamarada, performing alongside reggae greats like Inner Circle and Barrington Levy. He later formed his own band República Cangrejo before returning to study, completing a Masters Degree again at Berklee College of Music.  His band released their debut album in 2015 and last year reached the semi-finals of the 2016 International Songwriting Competition!

The next morning, before heading off to set-up and rehearse, we recorded a session with Marlon on a wide variety of percussion, from various shakers to hand drums.

Mega-versatile multi-percussionist and drummer Marlon Marañon works across a huge number of musical genres – Latin rock, pop, funk, salsa, drum ‘n’ bass, chillout, house, jazz, folk and vallenato (folk from Colombia’s Caribbean region).  In the last 20 years he’s worked with the likes of Latin stars Karroll Marquez, Jerau, Compañia Ilimitada and Colombian rock band Los de Adentro.

Originally from Barranquilla, the capital of Colombia’s Atlántico region on the Northern coast, Marlon first got into percussion as a young boy.  He studied music at the University of Atlántico in Barranquilla, where he gained his Lic – short for “licenciado”, the equivalent a Masters or Bachelor of Arts degree. His own project Zoneros Zonerscrew fuses hip-hop with with Latin and Caribbean rhythms – go check them out!

A real pleasure to work with such nice blokes! With massive thanks to both Suzy and Tupac.