July 7, 2006

Hector Buitrago: Connecting Colombian Rock with the Spirits

By James Klein

Hector Buitrago, who founded the legendary Colombian rock band Aterciopelados with Andrea Echeverri, has premiered a personal project called Conector, his first as a soloist. This project included an invitation to his artistic companion, Andrea Echeverri, who is present on five songs on the album.

The record also includes contributions from the Mexican singer Julieta Venegas and Alex Ubago from Spain. Other Colombians are present including Martina Camargo who is a singer of the tambora style, and Eber Suarez, singer of Colombian “buyerengue” music, who gives life to the first single from the album “Damaquiel.”

In addition to connecting many musicians, the disc tries to make the connection between music and larger forces and ideas.

The Meaning of Conector

Conector, which is now available in record stores in the United States, can be seen as “a man bird, that symbolizes a musical warrior that connects the material world with the ethereal world. This idea came to me one afternoon in my apartment in Bogota, Colombia when I saw a bird that flew with authority, among the immensity of the capital,” Hector says.

“The musical and graphic project was initiated in August of 2005; Andrea wrote several songs for her solo album and I saw there the space to be able to collect the material that had remained floating with Aterciopelados and I composed several songs to complete the project.” Buitrago says, “It was 5 months of strong work, since at first I didn’t have it in my head to carry this out.”

“It surprised me the course the album began to take. The fact that it connects to so many kinds of music and people makes it exotic,’’ said Buitrago. For example, when he began the album, Hector wanted to do an instrumental work. But he could not resist the temptation to include voices. According to Buitrago, “Connector’’ connects a series of sounds that go from electronica to tribal, but also crosses Latin American and “New Age,’’ due to that collected contributions of many musicians. Also contributing to the disk are a specialist in musician-therapy, a youth that sang Hindu mantras, and folksingers’ of the Colombian bullarengue music.

A Project of Entrecasa

The disk, that went on sale in Colombia in March, is also an extension of another pro-ject launched by Aterciope-lados, its own record label called Entrecasa. It was released in the United States in June by Nacional Records. It is only the second disk released by Entrecasa.

Buitrago is one of the strongest developers of the Colombian electronic music scene. This led to the starting the record label. The reason is simple. For Hector it is a pleasure to experience and to utilize the new tools that are provided by the technology to make music. Working with a computer from his house and to create, to propose and to design sounds is his passion. This is the same trait that he brought to being a rock artist an allowed him to change the view of the world to the work of Colombians through Aterciopelados.

Thus arose Entrecasa, a project that originally had the objective to compile an album, launched by the record label, to showcase the creativity of various friends and Colombian youths that were working in electronic music with computers. The album “Colombeat” was the result of this effort. The album sold out.

Aterciopelados Still Making Music

Neither this work nor the previous solo work of Andrea Echeverri threaten the band that they founded 15 years ago “this does not imply that Aterciopelados has finished but simply it is a space that we gave ourselves to recover those ideas that did not function with Aterciopelados.” Buitrago says. In fact, the two musicians are working together on new material for what will be the next production of Aterciopelados.

It is not a surprise that Aterciopelados is still together. For Hector Buitrago, music is always about connection.

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