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Ondatropica

The 2015 Pan Am Games kick off tomorrow in Toronto and for the next five weeks, our city will be a hotspot of sport, but also arts and culture. Panamania is a 35-day festival featuring music, theatre, dance, visual arts and fashion, and among the acts performing is Ondatropica. Their rump-shaking music is a polyrhythmic mix of classic Colombian styles like cumbia and champeta, jazz, Jamaican ska and dancehall, hip-hop and salsa. But I also like how they sound retro and contemporary at the same time and have come up with what you could call the new sound of Colombia. About four years back, Mario Galeano, a Colombian musician, teamed up with Will Holland, a well-known British producer who'd moved to Colombia. They wanted to show the world that there's more to Colombian music than cumbia which is the shuffling rhythm that was born around the time the country became a Spanish colony. So Galeano and Holland holed themselves up in a studio in Medellin. But they weren't alone. Joining them were a few Colombian music legends, some of whom were in their 80s, as well as a group of younger artists. Over the span of two days, 42 musicians recorded 26 songs, a testament to the chemistry they shared during the sessions. The group has since played across Europe and performed at a festival that helped kick off the London Olympics in 2012. Ondatropica perform Monday night (July 13) at Nathan Philips Square as part of Panamania Live.

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