The genre of “world music” has long been a label used to categorize foreign sounds that don’t fit into developed, popular genres. Some define it as simply as “traditional music from the developing world,” while others provide a more complex denotation, referring to this style as “popular music originating from or influenced by non-Western musical traditions and often having a danceable rhythm.” It is a relatively modern phenomenon that has been popularized by such record labels as Putumayo, World Circuit, and Cumbancha. But as the definitions suggest these producers are from the Western world exploring the sounds of Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Mundovivo is an independent Chilean label, comprised of Chilean musicians who are influenced by external rhythms and develop their own music with foreign tempos in diverse measures.
Transubhiriano - Photo courtesy of Mundovivo
Mundovivo was founded in 1996 by a pair of artists who wanted to take their musical projects forward in production and distribution. One of the pioneers and current overseer of the Mundovivo label is Rodrigo Cepeda, aka Subhira, who is himself a musician and has spent much time touring through the US, Australia and Europe discovering local and traditional sounds. He has been a part of bands such as electro-acoustic act EQUS and the trancy, experimental group Transubhiriano, while maintaining a hand in music through his solo career as Subhira. His real expertise has come from producing music for TV, documentaries, and movies at home in Chile and abroad.
The other founder was Andres Condon. A musician, composer, and producer who began with a heavy focus on nature, and incorporating the sounds of nature into his recorded music, Andres found it difficult to distribute his niche music to a specific audience. With the help of Subhira, they began Mundovivo as an alternative and independent music label. The mission was to connect outlets at home, while exhibiting world music to Chile, and build a network of Chilean musicians to share styles abroad.
The label features sixteen artists and is constantly growing, with styles ranging from African or Afro-Latin rhythms, to traditional Celtic hymns, to Eastern chants from India or Iran. Mundovivo has created a platform and an arena for traditional or unique Chilean musicians to release their own music. There is no mold to fit these musicians into in order to sell the records. There is music to relax to, music to sleep to, music to dance to, music to inspire and music to create.
Kalimarimba - Photo courtesy of Mundovivo
Let’s have a listen to a few of the featured musicians. Entrama is a group of eight musicians, all well versed in multiple instruments and each with his own way of expressing music. The end result is a dynamic fusion of sounds that encompasses music from all over the world. (Video is in Spanish)
Another exciting band is Kalimarimba. Kalimarimba Their sound is a fusion of Latin American and African influences including Marimba, Djembe, and Ritmos Afro-americanos. Deriving influence from the natives of Uruguay, Cuba, Colombia, among others, the group sings in Spanish as well as many indigenous tongues including Aymara, Ayacuyano Chanca, Mapudungún, Quechua, Cunza y Arará.
One of Mundovivo’s strongest attributes is their promotion and presence in the “world music” scene. Every few months the label arranges a short tour of musicians. In the past it has been held at Corporación Cultural de Las Condes and has featured four bands (one every Friday of the month for example). The event serves two main purposes: to shine a light on the talented artists on the Mundovivo label and to raise awareness in Chile about external sounds and, consequently, cultures.
Photo courtesy of Mundovivo
As a result of these seasonal exhibitions, Mundovivo has received awards from governmental organizations and continues to lead the way in the form of education through music. However, not all of the musicians are rooted in such traditional styles. The Santiago afro-cumbia band La Chilombiana was recently signed to the label.
La Chilombiana provides a more upbeat danceable groove in contrast to the others at Mundovivo. This helps attract a younger crowd to experience a Mundovivo festival to learn about the other artists and their influences.
Check out a show this June and learn about the diverse music Chilean musicians are producing. For more updates and future shows and to discover all of the artists on the Mundovivo label check out the website below.