Calixto y “El Africano”

Listen Calixto Ochoa “EL Africano”

On my recent travels I found this little 45 by chance caught between a stack of lps in Florida, the track is “El Africano” by Colombian musician Calixto Ochoa. After the hearing the first couple seconds of the melody any lover of tropical music or anybody who grew up listening to La Sonora Dinamita’s or Wilfredo Vargas’ version will recognize the tune. It’s a classic tune, and it became an international hit for Calixto and others who covered it, but hearing the raw, first compositon of it with the quirky scat jibberish and grunts of Calixto and the chugging clap beat  and riding hats is one of those little pleasures that  makes digging through mounds of dusty records all worth while.

Calixto would go on to have numerous hit songs or “exitos” as we like to call them, many of them like “El Africano” inspired by local stories, jokes, folklores that Calixto made a career out of. Calixto talks a little about the story of the song in the video clip below even though it’s hard to make out what he saying, but in some ways it fits song’s question and we still don’t know “lo que quiere el negro”, maybe he wants the girl or maybe he just wants to dance. EB


Also we’ll be playing a little set of Colombian grooves at the wrap up party of the Colombian Music Fest. tonite along with Macondo’s own Leo Suarez and others, so if you can make it out come on by the cumbias will be hot and heavy.

Friday July 30th  @NV Penthouse Lounge   116 W. Hubbard St. (Between Clark and Hubbard)  9-2

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