By Consuelo Arbelaez
All around the world, there are extraordinary artists whose marvelous music I love and listen to with great interest. Nevertheless, there was something special awaiting me.
I began my work adventure with Colombian artists around the year 2000, mainly because I wanted the flourishing local New Colombian Music Scene to be discovered by Europe and by the rest of the world, as if to open a trunk containing an immense treasure. It might seem pretentious, but this seemed absolutely necessary to me. World-round, people spoke of Colombia only in terms of the guerrilla, the paramilitary presence, drug trafficking and Pablo Escobar. Little was known of a new generation that having been born of armed conflict, was making efforts to save itself. A musical movement had indeed emerged in the 90’s in this environment. These artists valued their roots as well as the musical maestros who preserved and transmitted traditions; yet these young musicians were also well-versed in other genres such as rock and roll, jazz, pop, hip hop and electronic music.
At the time, I was the Responsabile Spettacoli for Latinoamericando, a beautiful and important festival in Italy. This involved assisting the Festival Director in programming, being responsible for artist hospitality, production, press relations and organizing corollary events additional to the festival’s main programming. This festival was completely dedicated to Latin America, but New Colombian Music bands rarely reached the festival. Additionally, as I came into contact with my European colleagues, I noticed there was not much interest in this new Colombian music scene. On the other hand, at the local level, in Colombia, the market was completely focused on Latin pop and other genres, while the new scene was completely “underground”.
So, my adventure continued in terms of developing artists internationally and contributing to the development of the professional sector in Colombia, a labor to which I have devoted myself with great passion and rigor. Since then, directors of prestigious international festivals have selected our artists to showcase and the public has followed.
Today, Colombia is a key point in the musical map of influence in all of Latin America. Colombian artists with whom I have worked have won Grammy Awards and other important recognition. Other agencies have selected Colombian artists for their roster. The local musical industry has become stronger and continues to grow. Colombia has renowned festivals specializing in all musical genres as well as cultural and musical marketplaces that attract professionals from all parts of the world. All of these valid reasons motivate me to continue focusing on the New Music Scene in Colombia, while always remaining open to exploring new territories.