Choc Quib Town on Immigration Policy: "It's Stupidity ... The U.S. Was Made by Immigrants"
Get your rumba on with Choc Quib Town at the Virginia Key Grassroots Festival.
The Chocó region of Colombia sits in the South American nation's northwestern countryside. Bordered by the mountains of neighboring Panama and the waters of both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, this small, rural locality is one of the poorest places in the entire country.
Yet it is culturally rich. And it is the birthplace of Latin Grammy-winning rap crew Choc Quib Town.
"We wanted a name that represented where we came from," says rapper Carlos "Tostao" Valencia. "Chocó is the state, Quibdó is the capital, and Town is like the pueblo."
This week, Tostao and his bandmates -- wife, Gloria "Goyo" Martínez, and her brother Miguel "Slow" Martínez -- will be bringing their self-described fusion of "folclor del Pacifico Colombiano, hip-hop de East & West" to Miami for the 2014 edition of the Virginia Key Grassroots Festival. Now in its fourth year, the late-February bash aims to bring "traditional and contemporary roots music and dance from all over the world" to our sunny shores.
Adding a modern, urban twist to Chocó's traditional sounds of chirimía, tambora, and other ritmos influenced by its predominately Afro-Colombian population, Choc Quib Town has been spreading its "rumba, flow, y mucha energía" since the turn of the century.
Tostao and Goya met when they were muchachos in Chocó. Like most neighborhood friends, the two grew apart. They rekindled their friendship years later in 2000 in Cali.
"I already had the idea of starting a band that represented the sound of our region, our upbringing, and told her about it," he recalls. "We told her brother and that's when we reunited, brining together our energies for the project, and here we are."