Dean Bagar, aka Tricky D, a Croatian born DJ living in Colombia, had a very specific vision when compiling Colombian Soul; to introduce audiences to the “softer, smoother side to Colombia’s music that most of us never get to hear”. Colombia is a hotbed of cultural creation. Many of the artists we know who are on the cutting edge of musical innovation come from Colombia. So I was really excited when Colombian Soul hit my inbox. Tricky D did a great job of balancing some of the heavy hitters like System Solar, Cerrero and Romperayo, with lesser-known artists like El Leopardo and Radio Rebelde Soundsystem.
The first three songs emphasize the voices of women. In fact, women’s voices are present throughout Colombian Soul. This feels really important. Particularly “Cuando Canto Grito”, produced by Llorona Records’ Cerrero and featuring the voice of Lucía Pulido. The song is intimate yet so powerful, an idea echoed in the lyrics. It’s hard to express in words what that means, “when I sing I yell” but it is one of the most powerful sentences in any song I’ve heard in the last few years. And the way Pulido sings it, with such soft power, reaches deep into your core.
Tricky D is tapping into a very important movement happening in Colombia and echoing throughout Latin America, the mixture of roots music and electronic production. It could be argued this movement began in Colombia with Sidestepper in the early 2000s and it certainly came to prominence with Colombia’s Bomba Estereo. This movement is typically very upbeat and meant to move your body. While there is a lot of well-deserved hype about the high-energy sounds, Tricky D has smoothly manoeuvred around the typical sounds of “electro-folklore” to bring us a gentler sound. It’s very obvious that Tricky D has a deep understanding of the nuances and beauty that exist in Colombian music. It’s apparent that he took great care in his selections for the album, creating a true experience for us as we progress from one song to the next.
Other notable tracks include “Adios Morena” by Esteban Copete, a head bobbing song thick with dubby percussion sure to be stuck in your head in the absolute best way. “El Leopardo”, by El Leopardo, moves the way a cat does when it’s on the prowl. The song sounds like you are a leopard stalking the jungle looking for the nearest dancefloor. Dragao’s “Cumbia Lobina” which features powerhouse Nidia Gongora fills your ears with a psychedelic mix of bass and horns brimming with soul. That is what Tricky D has done so well with Colombian Soul. While the songs he’s chosen are meant to be smoother and slower than what might come to mind when we think of Colombian music, the songs are all grooves, you still want to move to them because you feel them in your body. Within these twenty songs, Tricky D has masterfully captured the Colombian Soul.