Robert Kelley Ayala, from his music blog, May 22, 2005: Because this blog was just written up in a Semana article on music blogs, I want to take this opportunity to tell everyone about one of the best bands I came across in the last year: Folklore Urbano. They're a New York-based band that takes traditional Colombian music and melds it with a gritty jazz sound to produce some of the most sophisticated, danceable music around today. Folklore Urbano is led by Pablo Mayor, who grew up in Cali and Bogotá and is the former director of the jazz program at the Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá. Now in New York, he's leading a movement that I've decided to call 'Nueva Colombia,' which is a very modern take on Colombian folkloric music. Their first album, Aviso, boasts a collection of songs that are truly Colombian but don't at all feel out of place on your iPod when you're walking up Avenue C. This isn't smiley 'World Music' that you put on while cleaning the house--this is the cosmopolitanism of '70s jazz, and this is the rock'n'roll that you stumble upon at barebones clubs like Sin-E. There's an anxious intensity to it that captures both the joy and the tensions of modern Colombian life. But on their upcoming album, Baile!, they've really found their groove. I've only heard some unmastered clips of the recordings, but judging from some of their live shows I've seen earlier this year, the sound is much more confident and much more festive. I expect it to be spectacular.
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