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La Mambanegra in London

La Mambanegra

Hip-hop-flavoured salsa groove machine

La Mambanegra are no ordinary salsa outfit. Indeed, their leader Jacobo Vélez prefers to believe that they inhabit a genre all of their own. He calls it ‘break salsa’, on account of the band’s easy assimilation of hip-hop, ragga and knife-sharp funk. Hailing from the Colombian salsa capital of Cali, this nine-piece have been grooving hard for four years now, their polyrhythmic, horn-heavy and thoroughly modern sound quickly earning them a devoted following across South America and beyond. As innovative as their records are, they’re even better live, their full-throttle shows overflowing with the absolute commitment of each band member. And, in Vélez, they have an exuberant, passionate leader for whom the music is an essential life force. “Salsa is sweat, sex, liquour and Pielroja cigarettes,” he announces. “It’s the gasoline that turns my heart on.”

In London live 27 July @ Porchester Hall.

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