Guana Tangula


Abelardo Carbonó, despite thinking "outside-the-box", recorded two brilliant albums in 1980 and '81 for Codiscos' imprint Costeño, as well as several other labels, his first being Africa llama (1978) under the band name Grupo Abharca for the Sonolux imprint Caliente in 1978. Guitarist, singer, songwriter, and one-time policeman Abelardo Carbonó (b. 1948, Ciénaga, Magdalena) hails from Baranquilla and his early work was different from his contemporaries. It was definitely not salsa, nor was it really cumbia. Rather, it was novel and genius polyglot stew of diverse musical strains with African roots but never before blended in this way. Styles like Afrobeat, soukous and highlife were effortlessly stirred together with elements of the Cuban son, touches of Latin rock and funk, with a pinch of calypso, a hint of Haitian compas and even a dash of rock and roll, not to mention a foundation of local coastal Colombian varieties like vallenato and porro. Carbonó himself has admitted that Venezuelan psychedelic Afro-rock outfit Grupo Bota was a big influence as well, and his father Abelardo Sr. was a famous porro and cumbia guitarist in Los Tigrillos. The particular blend Carbonó and his bandmates created sounded unlike anything else at the time, and is still refreshingly unique and hip today. It's as if Abelardo Carbonó Y Su Conjunto were the missing link between the 1950s pan-Caribbean acoustic guitar-led sounds of Bovea Y Sus Vallenatos and the more electronic and Africanized genres of champeta and terapia of more recent years. Joined by the crucial nucleus of his brothers Abel on lead guitar and Jafeth on bass, Carbonó's debut record Guana Tangula has a pleasingly easygoing, deceptively simple sound with a tropical, African vibe that features lilting acoustic guitars, pleasant but slightly odd vocals and snappy percussion that would change later with the addition of amplified electric guitars, drum machines, and loops. At the time it came out, it was a popular record. However, soon after he recorded his second disk for Codiscos, La Negrera Del Negrerío, things changed in Colombia due to the ascendancy of the drug cartels and "payola" was the name of the game, so Carbonó's brief chance at big label mainstream popularity lost out to huge bribes by the marijuana traffickers who wanted their preferred artists to rise to the top. Presented in its original artwork and pressed on 180 gram vinyl.