A Rush Hour Q&A with Colombian Gold

The Caribbean Islands are pretty hot these days, but this tropical area is larger than its known for, because there’s relatively little focus on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. A shame, since the region has had a very particular, and interesting music scene since decades. Compiled by Sanjay Agarwal,“The Best of Felito Records” introduces the more experimental “Musica Tropical” from the country, with a blistering set of heavy cuts with deep indigenous undertones expressed in a stellar array of hybrid tropical sounds.

The compilation also includes a bonus DVD of the Colombian Gold documentary, which Sanjay made with his friend Ivan Higa, after digging deep into the heritage of Colombian music.

Fascinated as we are by the film and this banger of a compilation, we took the occasion to ask the compiler a few questions.

Order "The Best of Felito Records" incl. "Colombian Gold" DVD here.

1. Who is Sanjay Agarwal?

Born in the Dutch Antilles (Curacao) but raised primarily in South America (Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia) and the USA, I am a student of the world. My love for music began when I was a child, and 15 years ago I started collecting records. In the past few years my collectors hobby slowly grew into a small business and currently I deal/sell rare records from all over the world, specializing in tropical gems from the Latin American region. In 2006, I graduated from the Institute of Social Studies in Den Haag with a degree in development, I have always been interested in documenting/telling stories and in 2013 I directed a movie -documentary called “Colombian Gold” which has screened in a number of film festivals around the world, including in Womex 2013 and most recently at the 2016 Latin American Film Festival in Rotterdam.

2. Why Colombian music in particular?

As mentioned before, I was raised in many countries throughout my youth and from a young age I learned to appreciate different musical styles. In 2003 my parents moved to Colombia and during one of my visits I began to dig for records and I fell in love with Cumbia and other Afro Colombian styles....

3. How did this film project start an come about?

After a couple years digging Colombian records I began to search for the musicians and producers of my favorite labels/lps. In 2008 I met Michi Sarmiento (one of the Godfathers of Cumbia and Salsa music in Colombia) and many other musicians/producers /musicologist and was captivated by their stories and the rich diverse musical styles hat exists in Colombia's Carribean region. Around 2009 I began to write a script and was able to get funding for a camera and some basic gear. I contacted a friend of mine in Venezuela (co- director IVAN HIGA) and we began filming in june 2009)...