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Aterciopelados Biography

Over the last several years the restless youth of Latn America (and their Latino cousins up North) have been swept up in the Latin alternative scene. They like their hip-hop and alternative rock, but they don't want to give up their soulful, folkloric roots. At the forefront of this new wave is Aterciopelados (the Velvets), whose music would feel equally at home at a rock concert, electronica lounge, or salsa club. They can rock like Radiohead, but they have the same dedication to Latin music's traditions as the Buena Vista Social Club.

Their first album, Con El Corazon en la Mano, features crashing, distorted guitars and a punishing punk drumbeat. With their second album, El Dorado, Aterciopelados began to expand their horizons, including traditional llanera rhythms of the Colombian countryside as well as the flamenco'bolero sound of their first big hit, "Bolero Falaz." "At first what we were doing was very elementary", said Andrea. "But since we've played out a lot, learned to compose, and made a few records, even though we haven't had a lot of formal training in music, we've just learned how to develop. We've done it in a very instinctive way, but I think it's very valid."

Gozo Poderoso (Powerful joy), their fifth album, is a melodic, moody manifesto for the vibrantly eclectic Latin alternative movement. It is world music for a new world. Recorded in Bogot and produced by Hector Buitrago, this album led the way to independence and development of their own true sound. A couple of years later came Evolucion, a collection of greatest hits, followed by two solo albums, Andrea's self'titled Andrea Echeverri and Hector's Conector. Andrea Echeverri is centered around Echeverri's experiences being pregnant, giving birth, nursing, and loving. Conector, which translates both as "with Hector" and "connector", connects musicians, ideas, paths, and results in a potent inner perspective of contemporary spirituality. Andrea and Hector were both very much involved in the other's solo project. Currently they are working on a new Aterciopelados album that will be out in fall 2006.

Aterciopelados have always demonstrated an unflagging commitment to their music as art, and as an instrument of reaching people. Now that the civil war in Colombia is intensifying and more innocent victims get caught up in its devastation, the band recognizes their responsibility to celebrate their love for their traditions, while speaking to the modernizing tastes of Latn American youth. You can see it vividly, whether they're playing a show in the main square of La Paz, Bolivia to celebrate the declaration of human rights, or whether it's Andrea tossing plastic flowers into an army of Latin rockers in New York or Los Angeles.


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