The story of La Chiva Gantiva began in Brussels when three young Colombian students started to play percussion together. Driven by a desire to assert their roots, they began to blend Afro-Colombian rhythms with other styles of music they loved: rock, afrobeat and funk. Soon joined by four other musicians (two Belgians, a Frenchman and a Vietnamese), they started performing around the world, and their exciting, explosive show conquered media and public alike.
Signed to Crammed Discs, La Chiva Gantiva releasing their second album, “Vivo“, in February 2014. Recorded in their own studio (which they built for the occasion, upstairs from a bar in central Brussels), “Vivo” was mixed in New York by Joel Hamilton (Blakroc, Sparklehorse, Marc Ribot, Bomba Estereo) with the band’s two main composers, vocalist Rafael Espinel and guitarist Felipe Deckers.
While the album’s powerful sound reflects La Chiva Gantiva’s incredible live energy, their “frenetic carnival-punk racket that detonates like a Molotov cocktail of rock, rap, soul and ferociously funky Latin rhythms (as described by The Times), “Vivo” also contains songs in which the band further explore several musical directions, such as traditional percussion patterns and new sonic territories, while remaining grounded in their trademark rock/afrobeat fundamentals, punctuated by exuberant horn riffs.
After performing in Continental Europe, La Chiva Gantiva made a couple of very successful visits to the UK (including shows at the River of Music festival during the 2012 Olympics, at the London Jazz Festival and at WOMAD 2013) and the US (with shows in NYC, Miami, Chicago, Dallas and at SXSW). They also had the great pleasure of being welcomed by their country of origin: although the band was born in Europe, it has now become one of Colombia’s most popular new acts, toured there twice, and was just celebrated at Premios Shock, the yearly Colombian TV Music Awards.
In early 2014, La Chiva Gantiva will be playing shows in Benin and at Womad Australia and New Zealand, before coming back to tour around Europe.