Roberto López 
Criollo Electrik
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Remember those big, beautiful stereo receivers from the 1970s?

Well, some of them had a mic input in that shiny metal faceplate. When Roberto Lopez was a teenager growing up in Bogotá, he would plug his black Les Paul knockoff guitar into his parents stereo and crank it up until he got that sweet distortion that he was after. Much to his parents’ dismay of course.

When the Montreal-based guitarist set out to make his new album, Criollo Electrik, he went searching for that childhood sound. “I was a big fan of the boogaloo growing up – you know, this mix of Motown, soul, and Latin grooves”, Lopez explains. “With this album I wanted to come back to my roots, to that kid putting his dad’s stereo into overdrive. ”

It’s not up there in the head. It’s down there, in the heart, or lower in the gut, or lower still, that’s it, now you’re getting the idea.

If music is a language, forget Rock en Español, Lopez has conjured up his own Esperanto — a deconstruction of influence to create something absolutely new. He’s not interested in tumbling down any statues, he’s building a new one right next to them.

Cause this isn’t fusion, nothing so vainglorious as that. This is sunlight filtering through Colombian palms making patterns on some sticky Canadian sugar shack where the wolves are at the door and you gotta run like hell. Roberto Lopez is a bell-ringing dream of tomorrow, but still with the stains of Bogotà bus floors on his Doc Martens, and some heavy metal leather vested hands-up sweaty mess screaming his way to being a hero. You want to mix it up more? Get a Brazilian to play your Colombian rhythms, an African to be your rock drummer. And just when you think you’ve pinned down that image, here comes some long-limbed Nigerian princess shaking her disco booty at you and wagging her finger cause you’ve been naughty, you’ve been using that fusion word, you been keeping it all in your head like some marble statue when the universe is contained down there, and we don’t have any more time for that bullshit. Clik play now!


The project may have been inspired by nostalgia

…but the finished product is perhaps Lopez’ most forward-thinking music to date. Aptly named, Criollo Electrik is an electrified – and electrifying – creole, a musical language of mixed ancestry. With a Brazilian percussionist and an Ivorian drummer playing percussive parts written by a Colombian, it seems only appropriate that this electric creole was recorded in the bilingual melting pot of Montreal. The record is infused with the flavours of champeta, the Colombian take on African music which spread through the picó, or the Colombian sound system. Lesser known than its Jamaican counterpart – but just as vital to street culture and a link to heritage – the brightly painted picos were at the heart of working class parties where, in the 70s, the DJs spun rare records from the Caribbean along with soukous, Afrobeat, and highlife LPs imported from West Africa.

 

          

Watch the Criollo Electric promo video
"…a gem of an instrumental album that draws on early influences while teleporting them to today’s global music leading edge."
— Calcopyrite - World Beat Canada  
"Abraxas from Montreal... a major update."
— Alain Brunet - LA PRESSE  
★★★★ "... an album that has a very strong grip."
— Yves Bernard - LE DEVOIR  
"…an exciting project, Roberto Lopez – completely revamped"
— Ralph Boncy - VOIR  
"... musical Creole from a Colombian Montrealer."
— Ici musique - RADIO CANADA  
Credits
Roberto López: Guitars, bass, keys, tambora and llamador
Momo Soro: Drums
Vovô Saramanda: Percussions
Vocals by: Adan de Dios, Emelina Reyes Salgado “la Burgos”, and Teresa Reyes Salgado “la Mella”
Produced by Ivan Duran
Co-produced and recorded by Roberto López at Curura Musique Studios
Additional recording at Casa de la Cultura Graciela Salgado, San Basilio de Palenque, Colombia
Mixed by Ivan Duran at Stonetree Studios
Mastered by Ryan Morey at Ryan Morey Mastering
Art Direction Roberto López and Ivan Duran
Graphic Design MID51
Cover Painting by Javier Almirón -Atrapasueños Relato Urbano
Album photography by David Covo Camacho
Additional photography by Kaveh Nabatian
All songs written and arranged by Roberto López
Additional arrangements by Ivan Duran
All songs published by Stonetree Music, all rights reserved
This project is funded in part by FACTOR, the Government of Canada and Canada’s private radio broadcasters.
This recording was made possible through the assistance of the Music Section of the Canada Council for the Arts