Tuesday, 16 February 2010


I'm not living in Berlin anymore. I've moved to Barranquilla on Colombia's Caribbean coast, the land of my father's birth. I'm working for a newspaper called El Heraldo, the newspaper where Garcia Maquez got his lucky break so fingers crossed. All my articles can be checked on their website. Barranquilla has a pretty famous carnival, and I've been covering it quite extensively.

Here is an article on the carnival's lack of infrastructure.
Here is one on backpackers in the city for the carnival.
Here is a piece on the American ambassador to Colombia, William Brownfield.
Here is a piece on a dancing troupe made up of street sweepers.
Here is one on a Sikh visitor from America who has really confused the Colombians.

The tune above is pretty much THE hit this year. Everyone is playing it. It's been really interesting to see the evolution of champeta from something that was laughable, to something that is now thoroughly mainstream. Any genre from pop to to the most underground of electronic Colombian music has a distinctive champeta flavour that wasn't present last time I visited in 2005.

The carnival is a wonderful experience, full of life and colour. Unlike Europe, life is lived on the streets here, which makes my work intersting and rewarding. More than that though, life is soundtracked here. Every shop, car, private home or dwelling seems to have a PA parked outside it, banging out tunes throughout the day and night, which makes thinking outside that tropical/champeta/cumbia/salsa/merengue/reggaeton mindset quite demanding. I shall however endeavour, and have more special mixes and interviews lined up. I will aim to post some photos of the carnival in the next few days.

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