Pedro Laza y sus Pelayeros / Fandango

Pedro Laza y sus Pelayeros were a prominent group of porro from San Pelayo in Cordobá, the birthplace of one of two major styles of Colombian porro.

Porro is basically a more modern-sounding, jazzed-up version of cumbia that is danced more like a salsa than the traditional cumbia (more legwork, less hips). It’s got a big-band jazz sound, and relies more on brass instruments like trumpets, trombones, and saxaphones than the gaita flutes of cumbia. You’ll definitely hear solos and improvisation, but also a very familiar percussive cumbia beat.

I love this record. I think it’s fun and accessible, especially for older latin music (it’s probably from the 60’s).

Fandango

Soy Pelayero (“I am a Pelayero”) is a pretty canonical porro that’s fun and catchy (pegajoso)

El cebú (“The Zebu”). A Zebu is a kind of Indian cow imported to Colombia. Haha!

El corralejo. Another porro.

On the other side of the album, there are some different styles of costal Colombian music. Ritmo del sesenta (“Rhythm of the sixties”) is a Paseíto. I’m actually have never heard of this genre before…

El arranque is a Fandango, the album’s namesake. Fandangos are a fast-paced and rhythm-heavy kind of coastal Colombian music. Their origins lie with a Spanish ballroom style of the same name, but it’s hard to see the similarity, apart from the 6/8 rhythm.

Cero treinta y nueve (“Zero Thirty-Nine”) is a beautiful Paseo, actually a type of vallenato rather than a cumbia. It’s easy to play and dance to, although this one is a lot faster than your typical (very romantic) vallenato paseo. This particular tune is a well-known part of the Colombian musical folklore, and this rendition is a bit unusual in that you’d almost always hear an acordeón leading the way, along with the vocals that here are replaced by trumpets.