““Bichos” is not only a superb introduction to Raúl Monsalve, but also to a swathe of incredible musicians you might still be unfamiliar with. It’s also a brilliant window into the rich musical seam of Venezuelan music, and an excellent look at how it might interconnect with wider musical parallels….”
Revisiting an artist/album I touched upon earlier this month, I’ve been playing their latest record whilst in the shower and can wholeheartedly endorse this experience! Mind you, it doesn’t matter where you play this, it will sound great anywhere!!!
Venezuelan bassist Raúl Monsalve has dedicated much of his life learning, practicing and understanding the art of Afro-Venezuelan and Afro-Caribbean music. For his latest album, Bichos (Spanish for ‘vermin’, ‘bugs’, ‘beasts’ but also used in Venezuela to refer to someone as a “nasty piece of work”), Raúl Monsalve is accompanied by a star-studded line up! Joined by the likes of “the voice of Venezuela” Betsayda Machado, singer Luzmira Zerpa (Family Atlantica) and drummer Dave De Rose (Agile Experiments, Moloko, Mark Ronson), Raul has created a place where Ancestral Afro-Venezuelan rhythms meet futuristic Latin jazz, raw funk and Afrobeat!
Bursting with rhythmic delights and expansive melodies, Bichos is a compelling listen and Bocón ft. Luzmira Zerpa is definitely becoming one of my favourite tracks! Its feel of anticipation resides in a hypnotic melody from which everything builds upon. Horns come and go with vibrant contrast and even when the song picks up pace, this unfaltering hum keeps everything in place. Rhythms, like busy bees, create a dynamic buzz, adding another dynamic layer to this colourful sonic patchwork…it’s rather lovely!