Some musicians stumble upon their sound; others, like Colombia’s Pernett, know their musical mission from the start. “Since I was a boy I wanted to mix Colombian folklore with techno music,” the dj/producer/singer writes in Spanish, in a video clip titled “Folkclor Progresivo” (Progressive Folklore). “Music is evolution, folklore is evolution,” he continues.
Pernett’s “folkclor progresivo” (as he also calls his music) pretty much sounds like what we imagine traditional Colombian music will sound like in 2111: a psychedelic, electro hybrid of Afro-Colombian percussion and rhythms with funk, techno, pop and hip hop. He came to the blend by marrying his two passions: computers and music, in particular the Afro-Colombian and coastal rhythms like cumbia and champeta heard in his native Barranquilla.
The Cali-based musician’s songs are situated at the pitch-perfect spot between old and today’s Colombia. Pernett’s flat, nasally voice and lilty sing-song style has a vintage spirit to it and reminds of Bob Dylan. His melodies, on the other hand, are futuristic, picturesque carnivals of scratchy guacharacas, digital blip arpeggios, brassy loops, synthy waaa’s, claps, fluid wind instruments, thumping tambors, and folkloric voices.
Since first joining Bogotá’s music scene in 2002, Pernett has released two EPs –2004’s Música Pa’ Pick Up (Music For Pick Up) and 2006’s Cumbia Galáctica (Galactic Cumbia)—and two two full-length albums—2008’s Arbol (Tree) and 2009’s El Mago (The Magician). In that time, he’s also become a fixture in the renaissance of late that has catapulted acts like Bomba Estereo, Chocquibtown, and Systema Solar onto the world’s stage. Pernett has collaborated Bomba frontwoman Li Saumet and Chocquibtown’s Tostao as well as Visitante of Calle 13 and Afro-Colombian folk legend Totó La Momposina. Last fall, Pernett released a beyond-funky cumbiafied cover of New World Order’s “Blue Monday” with Lido Pimienta and Quantic. We love it–what can we say? We like our new wave with a side of accordion.
Check out his video for “La Rumba Bacana” (“The Cool Rumba”) below:
Photo courtesy of Pernett