The Belgium-based multiethnic musical collective La Chiva Gantiva performed at the Concert of Colors music festival in Detroit on June 12.
La Chiva Gantiva blends Afro-Colombian rhythm, rock, funk and jazz to create a sound as unique as its members’ multiethnic backgrounds. Originally formed by three Colombian students living in Brussels, the band currently comprises musicians from Belgium, Chile and Vietnam.
The Concert of Colors is produced by partners including the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Arab American National Museum to bring bands from around the world to Detroit each year.
“We are really happy to perform in Detroit, it’s a huge opportunity to be here and show people what we do as a band,” said guitarist Felipe Deckers. “There are so many roots in Detroit and we want to share our new sound of energy and joy with the audiences.”
Deckers, who co-composes with lead singer Rafael Espinel, said the band originally began playing Afro-Colombian roots music, but have since expanded its sound.
“We’re not just trying to make traditional Colombian music; we are really trying to encourage each member of the band to blend their culture with ours,” said Deckers. “This way, each of us can make something new for the band.”
Deckers began playing electric guitar at a young age, but also plays the Colombian tiple and the tambor alegre on the band’s 2014 sophomore album titled “Vivo.”
For its second album, La Chiva Gantiva strived for a new, energetic and distinct Latin sound with its signature mix of Spanish and French lyrics.
“Our album ‘Vivo’ means ‘We are alive’. The message is that we are living, that we are now here and that we want to share our happiness together,” Deckers said. “This sensation is one we want to express with not only our music, but our lives and culture.”
The band’s name also illustrates its love for Colombia. Deckers explained that La Chiva is a colorful area in the Colombian countryside that has many different kinds of animals and flowers. The word Gantiva, which is percussionist Natalie’s last name, originated from the language of the aborigines of Bogota, the capital of Colombia.
“Their music if very different from what many people are used to, which allows their music to stand out,” said Nicolas Villa, the band’s North American press agent.
Article via: The South End