Arts, Culture & Media

Afro-Columbian Funk from La Chiva Gantiva

La Chiva Gantiva formed in Brussels, when several Colombian musicians started playing together.

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Lead singer Rafael Espinel says they wanted to feel more connected to their homeland.

But he says it's gone further than that now.

"We are good friends. We are like brothers. I think it's love, it's love from the music," Espinel says.

Along the way, other musicians joined in.

Now the band members are not just Colombian but also French, Flemish, Walloon and Vietnamese.

But Colombian culture is still the heart of La Chiva Gantiva.

The band's title track from their new album, Pelao, is a good example of that.

"Pelao it's a name of little guy, you know, a kids in Colombia. When you talk with little kids," Espinel says. "You talk, 'Hey Pelao come with me. Hey Pelao where are you from?' So it's a name, you know, it's not a dictionary name, you know."

The song is in both French and Spanish and it's about the harsh realities of immigrant life.

Lead singer Rafael Espinel says La Chiva Gantiva is like the new kid on the block.

But next month the band embarks on its first swing through North America.

Give 'em a couple years and they'll no longer be kids, but elder statesmen.