El Palmas Music return to Venezuela’s golden age with Color de Trópico Vol. 2, featuring another selection of tracks from the hugely creative and hedonistic, period of the 60s and 70s when Venezuela was at the cutting-edge of Latin American music.
First single is Santo Domingo by Mario y Sus Diamantes and is out today. It’s a classic cumbia that was originally performed by Colombia’s Los Cumbiamberos De Pacheco. It features the group’s founder Mario Carniello on his trusted Hammond organ. Released in 1966, at the time Carniello was one of Venezuela’s finest musical exports, winning the country’s esteemed Mara de Oro award and having hits throughout Colombia, Mexico, Peru and elsewhere in Latin America.
The label explains: “In some ways, Mario Carniello is emblematic of the economic and creative boom Venezuela was having at the time. Born in Italy, Carniello moved to Barquisimeto, focal point of Venezuela’s oil industry, but due to his prowess on the organ (as well as accordion and marimba) he soon found himself being beckoned to the country’s capital, Caracas, where the thirst for tropical music was blossoming due to the country’s oil-bolstered economy and democratic stability (after many years of authoritarian regimes). Through the 60s and 70s, there were few better places to be for a musician (no matter the nationality) than Venezuela.
“On Color de Trópico Vol. 2, Mario y sus Diamantes are joined by other artists who reaped the rewards of this golden age for Venezuelan music, a time when they had the license to be creative, and were as connected with the rest of the world’s music as they’ve ever been. La Retreta Mayor, Anselmo y su Conjunto, Orquesta La Playa, Nelson y Sus Estrellas, Los Cuatros Monedas, Almendra and Los Kings were, like Mario, dishing out an unashamedly bold fusion of Venezuelan rhythms with the latest global tropical music crazes. On which other compilation can you find covers of Fela Kuti and Desmond Decker alongside gritty salsa and grooving llanera from the Venezuelan plains?
“Color de Trópico Vol. 2 illustrates how Venezuelan musicians were searching for their own identity after years of dictatorship and with a new-found prosperity. They did this by creating a musical multiplicity, contorting cosmopolitan sounds to create unique, mesmeric fusions which still sound just as fresh today. The aim of the Color de Trópico series is to document a vital part of Venezuela’s musical history and ensure that it gets the respect it deserves. This second volume continues this work of healing and reconstruction, offering further evidence for the case.”
Color de Trópico Vol. 2 is released on May 14th.