Los Callejeros
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Los Callejeros

Leuven, Flanders, Belgium | INDIE

Leuven, Flanders, Belgium | INDIE
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"La fête sur le macadam (french)"

Avec leur mélange musical épicé, Los Callejeros n’ont aucun mal à entraîner n’importe quelle salle de concert ou festival dans la danse. Mais c’est pas la rue qui reste leur scène préférée. Ils définissent leur deuxième album Presente comme “une bonne potée flamande a base d’ingrédients venus du monde entier”. Benjamin Tollet

Le groupe Los Callejeros est né du périple aux îles Canaries de l’accordéoniste Frank Mercado-Avalos, du guitariste et chanteur Ben de Wandel et du guitariste Peter Morris. Au fil des évolutions, ils sont toujours restés fidèles à leur prédilection pour musique de rue. « Nulle part ailleurs on ne peut être aussi proches des gens », affirme Ben de Wandel. « Aussi loin que remonte la mémoire de l’humanité, la rue a été la lieu par excellence pour rencontrer, dans la diversité. On s’y retrouve au même niveau que le public. Les passants s’arrêtent s’ils apprécient, si pas, ils continuent simplement leur chemin ». Et ça marche, comme en témoignent les réactions spontanées du public, notamment lors des dix jours des Fêtes de Gand l’année dernière. Au cours de ces festivités, le groupe a vendu pas moins de 500 exemplaires de son premier album, El camino es el destino.

Ce premier album présentait une forte influence cubaine. Et son successeur ?
FRAN MERCADO-AVALOS : Presente, notre nouvel album, donne plutôt l’impression d’un expédition autour du monde. Notre principale source d’inspiration a été un voyage de six mois à travers l’Amérique latine, à la recherche des racines africaines de la musique.
DE WANDEL : Nous voyageons sur les grooves de la Jamaïque vers Cuba, le Mexique, la Colombie et le Pérou, pour ensuite prendre la direction des Balkans et, comme si ce n’était pas encore assez, nous atterrissons au Moyen-Ourient. Sans oublier d’ou vient le rythme de notre cœur : l’Afrique.
MERCADO-AVALOS : En fait, il ne faute pas forcément aller si loin car la vie multiculturelle du Belgistan présente tellement de richesses, c’est the place to be pour un melting-pot musical.

Le titre Presente est-il un clin d’œil à la journée de solidarité avec Cuba Che Presente ?
DE WANDEL : Presente a plusieurs significations : le fait d’être présent, le présent, un cadeau. Mais c’est surtout notre philosophie de vie : faire de la musique avec compañeros que nous avons rencontrés en chemin. Sur cet album, notre familia a grandi, avec plus de percussions, de trompettes et de musiciens invités.

Pouvez-vous en citer quelques-uns ?
DE WANDEL : Notre compadre del corazon (frère de cœur) mexicain Luis Valle Moya, qui interviebt sur le morceau Lamula.
MERCADO-AVALOS : Terrakota, un groupe portugais qui joue un mélange afro/world/reggae. Notre amitié a abouti sur Nifuna Ndoni, un hymne à la paix en 28 langues ! Nicolas Eusebio, du groupe Monterey de Bratislava, chanteur sur Dimelo. Avec son charango et sa flûte de Pan, le Bolivien Raul Uriarte fait montrer Mas Corazon d’un cran. Nous avons aussi invité le bassiste reggae Alain « aLion » Meloen, Alain Louie de Talons Gitans (qui assureront la première partie de leur concert au Beursschouwburg, NDLR) et la rythmique redoutable de Murgalova.
- Brusselnieuws - Agenda - edition 1265


"La fête sur le macadam (french)"

Avec leur mélange musical épicé, Los Callejeros n’ont aucun mal à entraîner n’importe quelle salle de concert ou festival dans la danse. Mais c’est pas la rue qui reste leur scène préférée. Ils définissent leur deuxième album Presente comme “une bonne potée flamande a base d’ingrédients venus du monde entier”. Benjamin Tollet

Le groupe Los Callejeros est né du périple aux îles Canaries de l’accordéoniste Frank Mercado-Avalos, du guitariste et chanteur Ben de Wandel et du guitariste Peter Morris. Au fil des évolutions, ils sont toujours restés fidèles à leur prédilection pour musique de rue. « Nulle part ailleurs on ne peut être aussi proches des gens », affirme Ben de Wandel. « Aussi loin que remonte la mémoire de l’humanité, la rue a été la lieu par excellence pour rencontrer, dans la diversité. On s’y retrouve au même niveau que le public. Les passants s’arrêtent s’ils apprécient, si pas, ils continuent simplement leur chemin ». Et ça marche, comme en témoignent les réactions spontanées du public, notamment lors des dix jours des Fêtes de Gand l’année dernière. Au cours de ces festivités, le groupe a vendu pas moins de 500 exemplaires de son premier album, El camino es el destino.

Ce premier album présentait une forte influence cubaine. Et son successeur ?
FRAN MERCADO-AVALOS : Presente, notre nouvel album, donne plutôt l’impression d’un expédition autour du monde. Notre principale source d’inspiration a été un voyage de six mois à travers l’Amérique latine, à la recherche des racines africaines de la musique.
DE WANDEL : Nous voyageons sur les grooves de la Jamaïque vers Cuba, le Mexique, la Colombie et le Pérou, pour ensuite prendre la direction des Balkans et, comme si ce n’était pas encore assez, nous atterrissons au Moyen-Ourient. Sans oublier d’ou vient le rythme de notre cœur : l’Afrique.
MERCADO-AVALOS : En fait, il ne faute pas forcément aller si loin car la vie multiculturelle du Belgistan présente tellement de richesses, c’est the place to be pour un melting-pot musical.

Le titre Presente est-il un clin d’œil à la journée de solidarité avec Cuba Che Presente ?
DE WANDEL : Presente a plusieurs significations : le fait d’être présent, le présent, un cadeau. Mais c’est surtout notre philosophie de vie : faire de la musique avec compañeros que nous avons rencontrés en chemin. Sur cet album, notre familia a grandi, avec plus de percussions, de trompettes et de musiciens invités.

Pouvez-vous en citer quelques-uns ?
DE WANDEL : Notre compadre del corazon (frère de cœur) mexicain Luis Valle Moya, qui interviebt sur le morceau Lamula.
MERCADO-AVALOS : Terrakota, un groupe portugais qui joue un mélange afro/world/reggae. Notre amitié a abouti sur Nifuna Ndoni, un hymne à la paix en 28 langues ! Nicolas Eusebio, du groupe Monterey de Bratislava, chanteur sur Dimelo. Avec son charango et sa flûte de Pan, le Bolivien Raul Uriarte fait montrer Mas Corazon d’un cran. Nous avons aussi invité le bassiste reggae Alain « aLion » Meloen, Alain Louie de Talons Gitans (qui assureront la première partie de leur concert au Beursschouwburg, NDLR) et la rythmique redoutable de Murgalova.
- Brusselnieuws - Agenda - edition 1265


"Reizend muziek maken is onze levensfilosofie (dutch)"

Op hun tweede album 'Presente' koken de Leuvense wereldreizigers van Los Callejeros verder aan hun muzikale hutsepot van chicha, reggae, Balkan en cumbia. - De Standaard - 04/02/2011


"Reizend muziek maken is onze levensfilosofie (dutch)"

Op hun tweede album 'Presente' koken de Leuvense wereldreizigers van Los Callejeros verder aan hun muzikale hutsepot van chicha, reggae, Balkan en cumbia. - De Standaard - 04/02/2011


"Central Station Antwerpen (English)"

'Présente!', the second Los Callejeros album has just been released, but before getting into more detail about that, maybe it would be better to start at the very beginning. The Spanish word "callejero" means "busker", but the biography on your website (www.loscallejeros.be, red.) mentions Los Callejeros started after a nice evening at the pub.
Ben De Wandel (vocals, guitar, charango, percussion): "Los Callejeros really started out as just a bunch of friends playing music and having fun in the streets. The idea to be playing to complete strangers and passers-by sounded very appealing and the fact we were Flemish youths playing South-American rhythms gave us a bit of an extra edge on other buskers out there. We still play the streets quite regularly, because for us that is still the location that suits our music best, but in the mean time of course Los Callejeros has evolved into a professional stage act as well. Whenever we're on stage we try to recreate the vibe of playing in the streets, but imaginably that's not always easy."

Somewhere in the early days of Los Callejeros you guys were involved in the documentary project "Cara O Moneda" ("heads or tails", red.). When did you guys start thinking of forming a band?
Peter Morris (vocals, guitar, bass, charango): "After we released the documentary we kept being asked if we couldn't perform live to give the screening of the movie that little extra. Up until that moment we'd been mainly occupied in dealing with the technical and practical problems surrounding the release of "Cara O Moneda", but the idea sounded appealing. We then started rehearsing and after playing a first live gig, everyone felt this was something we had to keep going."

Are all of you amateur musicians?
Ben De Wandel: "All of the original members are, yes. We often collaborate with other musicians, though, and through those collaborations we've learned quite a lot. That's also part of our vice: music as a means to meet other people and if at all possible learn something in the process."

I think we can catalogue the music of Los Callejeros as musica mestiza and world music in general. How difficult is it to survive in Belgium playing that genre of music?
Peter Morris: "There's a difference between surviving as a band or as a musician and making a living from playing music. You just have to make sure you get to play live as much as possible, but sometimes that might mean you'd have to invest some money in your own music. If you really want to make a living from playing music, you often end up not being able to play the music you really want to play, having to make compromises and finding yourself a place in the market."

You just mentioned the fact you have to invest in your own music from time to time. These days, one of the biggest financial risks in the music business is the release of an album. Few bands still see a profit from the sales of CD's, but you guys still seem to put a lot of energy and dedication in your album releases.
Ben De Wandel: "I think that has a lot to do with our urge for perfection and a healthy dose of stubbornness. Some of the members of Los Callejeros have a background in visual arts and we really only want to put out an album we'd be happy to buy ourselves."

Did you feel there were a lot of differences in the recording of the first and second album?
Ben De Wandel: "In my opinion, the songs on 'Présente!' sound a lot more diverse than the ones on our debut album 'El Camino Es El Distino'."
Christophe Millet (conga's, percussion): "We sound a lot more mature on 'Présente!' as well, and it was also the first time we worked with a professional drummer and various guest musicians, so musically speaking, the recording process was quite different this time around."
Ben De Wandel: "I should also mention that when we were recording 'El Camino Es El Destino', we were doing a whole lot of things at the same time, when for 'Présente!' we could dedicate all of our attention to our music."

Have you ever considered shooting a sequel to "Cara O Moneda" or is that documentary part of Los Callejeros in the past?
Peter Morris: "(makes the money sign with his fingers) If we can find the right financial backing I would not dismiss the idea, but the fact is that in making "Cara O Moneda" we spent all our savings with a very minimal return. In comparison the sale of our CD's is still way more profitable! (laughs)"
Ben De Wandel: "Maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to downscale the next documentary project if that ever happens. Right now we're focusing fully on our music and I'm sure things will start happening again if it's meant to be. It won't be for lack of ideas anyway. You have to realize that "Cara O Moneda" kind of developed spontaneously without a lot of planning and organizing; for a possible future project we'd definitely have to switch strategies."

Something that seems pivotal in your songs is the use of various languages; the song 'Nifuna Ndoni' on - Rebel Base


"Central Station Antwerpen (English)"

'Présente!', the second Los Callejeros album has just been released, but before getting into more detail about that, maybe it would be better to start at the very beginning. The Spanish word "callejero" means "busker", but the biography on your website (www.loscallejeros.be, red.) mentions Los Callejeros started after a nice evening at the pub.
Ben De Wandel (vocals, guitar, charango, percussion): "Los Callejeros really started out as just a bunch of friends playing music and having fun in the streets. The idea to be playing to complete strangers and passers-by sounded very appealing and the fact we were Flemish youths playing South-American rhythms gave us a bit of an extra edge on other buskers out there. We still play the streets quite regularly, because for us that is still the location that suits our music best, but in the mean time of course Los Callejeros has evolved into a professional stage act as well. Whenever we're on stage we try to recreate the vibe of playing in the streets, but imaginably that's not always easy."

Somewhere in the early days of Los Callejeros you guys were involved in the documentary project "Cara O Moneda" ("heads or tails", red.). When did you guys start thinking of forming a band?
Peter Morris (vocals, guitar, bass, charango): "After we released the documentary we kept being asked if we couldn't perform live to give the screening of the movie that little extra. Up until that moment we'd been mainly occupied in dealing with the technical and practical problems surrounding the release of "Cara O Moneda", but the idea sounded appealing. We then started rehearsing and after playing a first live gig, everyone felt this was something we had to keep going."

Are all of you amateur musicians?
Ben De Wandel: "All of the original members are, yes. We often collaborate with other musicians, though, and through those collaborations we've learned quite a lot. That's also part of our vice: music as a means to meet other people and if at all possible learn something in the process."

I think we can catalogue the music of Los Callejeros as musica mestiza and world music in general. How difficult is it to survive in Belgium playing that genre of music?
Peter Morris: "There's a difference between surviving as a band or as a musician and making a living from playing music. You just have to make sure you get to play live as much as possible, but sometimes that might mean you'd have to invest some money in your own music. If you really want to make a living from playing music, you often end up not being able to play the music you really want to play, having to make compromises and finding yourself a place in the market."

You just mentioned the fact you have to invest in your own music from time to time. These days, one of the biggest financial risks in the music business is the release of an album. Few bands still see a profit from the sales of CD's, but you guys still seem to put a lot of energy and dedication in your album releases.
Ben De Wandel: "I think that has a lot to do with our urge for perfection and a healthy dose of stubbornness. Some of the members of Los Callejeros have a background in visual arts and we really only want to put out an album we'd be happy to buy ourselves."

Did you feel there were a lot of differences in the recording of the first and second album?
Ben De Wandel: "In my opinion, the songs on 'Présente!' sound a lot more diverse than the ones on our debut album 'El Camino Es El Distino'."
Christophe Millet (conga's, percussion): "We sound a lot more mature on 'Présente!' as well, and it was also the first time we worked with a professional drummer and various guest musicians, so musically speaking, the recording process was quite different this time around."
Ben De Wandel: "I should also mention that when we were recording 'El Camino Es El Destino', we were doing a whole lot of things at the same time, when for 'Présente!' we could dedicate all of our attention to our music."

Have you ever considered shooting a sequel to "Cara O Moneda" or is that documentary part of Los Callejeros in the past?
Peter Morris: "(makes the money sign with his fingers) If we can find the right financial backing I would not dismiss the idea, but the fact is that in making "Cara O Moneda" we spent all our savings with a very minimal return. In comparison the sale of our CD's is still way more profitable! (laughs)"
Ben De Wandel: "Maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to downscale the next documentary project if that ever happens. Right now we're focusing fully on our music and I'm sure things will start happening again if it's meant to be. It won't be for lack of ideas anyway. You have to realize that "Cara O Moneda" kind of developed spontaneously without a lot of planning and organizing; for a possible future project we'd definitely have to switch strategies."

Something that seems pivotal in your songs is the use of various languages; the song 'Nifuna Ndoni' on - Rebel Base


"Los Callejeros - Présente! (dutch)"

Los Callejeros mag dan bij hoog en laag blijven beweren dat ze vooral een livegegeven zijn, feit is dat ondergetekende hun albumreleases ook best kan smaken. Sterker zelfs, met deze Présente!, opvolger voor hun, uit 2008 daterende, debuut El Camino Es El Destino, bevestigen ze hun status als beste mestizoband van ons landje. In een wirwar van talen — waarbij Nifuna Ndoni, een nummer waarin ze naar eigen zeggen maar liefst 28 (!) talen gebruiken, de kroon spant — en stijlen (wij hoorden onder andere flarden son, chicha, zydeco, reggae en cumbia, maar vult u gerust zelf aan) creëerden Los Callejeros een virtuele reis doorheen Latijns-Amerika en de Caraïben; prachtig geïllustreerd door het roetsjbaandesign op de albumhoes. Als u dan ook nog weet dat Los Callejeros voor Présente! samenwerkte met een hoop goed volk (Terrakota, Alain 'aLion' Meloen, Murgalova, ...) dan mag het duidelijk zijn dat u met deze release een leuk schijfje in huis haalt! Op 12 februari zijn deze rakkers ook live te ontdekken in Het Depot (Leuven)
- Tropicalidad.be


"Los Callejeros - Présente! (dutch)"

Los Callejeros mag dan bij hoog en laag blijven beweren dat ze vooral een livegegeven zijn, feit is dat ondergetekende hun albumreleases ook best kan smaken. Sterker zelfs, met deze Présente!, opvolger voor hun, uit 2008 daterende, debuut El Camino Es El Destino, bevestigen ze hun status als beste mestizoband van ons landje. In een wirwar van talen — waarbij Nifuna Ndoni, een nummer waarin ze naar eigen zeggen maar liefst 28 (!) talen gebruiken, de kroon spant — en stijlen (wij hoorden onder andere flarden son, chicha, zydeco, reggae en cumbia, maar vult u gerust zelf aan) creëerden Los Callejeros een virtuele reis doorheen Latijns-Amerika en de Caraïben; prachtig geïllustreerd door het roetsjbaandesign op de albumhoes. Als u dan ook nog weet dat Los Callejeros voor Présente! samenwerkte met een hoop goed volk (Terrakota, Alain 'aLion' Meloen, Murgalova, ...) dan mag het duidelijk zijn dat u met deze release een leuk schijfje in huis haalt! Op 12 februari zijn deze rakkers ook live te ontdekken in Het Depot (Leuven)
- Tropicalidad.be


Discography

Teen en tander - Los Callejeros (dvd - 2007)

El camino es el destino - Los Callejeros (album - 2008)

Mas Corazon - Los Callejeros (single - 2009)

Presente! - Los Callejeros (album - 2011)

Photos

Bio

Los Callejeros is a Belgian world music band. Their music is not limited to one genre, but is a mix of several styles like reggae, cumbia, soka, salsa, chicha and ska. Los Callejeros once started as a collaboration project of 26 musicians from all over the world. Through time most of them started their own musical projects and Los Callejeros grew into a refreshing live band. Driven by unexpected encounters, Los Callejeros developed a new sound with instuments from several continents. Their live performance is known as a heartwarming musical surprise. An experience, for young and old to enjoy!