Lucas Silva, who also goes by his DJ alias Champeta Man, has pioneered record production and cultural promotion for the afro-colombian community in Colombia since 1996 with his label Palenque Records. Already with a catalog of close to twenty releases and several more in the works, the label focuses primarily on afro-colombian projects while also extending to champeta, Pacific and African sounds. Silva is passionate about finding music that’s forgotten by the record industry or that has never been studio recorded, and reaching out to the communities where those musical traditions still thrive. Throughout his projects, his work centers on enabling afro-colombian musicians to become working artists and to have a global platform to share their traditions.
With champeta and afro-colombian music now in the national eye with recent commercial hits, Silva finds himself with an expanding audience. Prepared with versatile production style, the majority of his records follow the format of classic studio sessions with live musicians while others are produced digitally with remixes solicited from electronic producers worldwide. His work continues to evolve as he experiments with the label, with new albums by Sexteto Tabulo, Faraon Bantu and Son Palenque in the works. Future projects may soon extend to the likes of a dub champeta album inspired by Jamaican soundsystem styles to highlight dialogues between musical communities in Colombia and worldwide, as he pushes for innovation in the sound he’s championed for the past fifteen plus years.
With an eye for unearthing cultural movements that have been more or less undocumented, Silva also extends his practice as a filmmaker to produce musical documentaries. For his next production, he hopes to focus on the psicodelia movement in Barranquilla in the 70s and 80s, a musical phenomenon still relatively unknown in comparison to the afro-psychedelic sounds of Brazil’s tropicalismo, for example. At-large, his work is interconnected by a focus on finding projects where he can bring together African and Colombian sounds and musicians.
Press play to listen to a set of recordings from Palenque Records' collaboration with son palenque / champeta artists Batata y Su Rumba Palenquera, and click here for the full interview (more music also available here, here and here!):