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Polen Records is an independent Colombian record label based in Bogota. Created in 2006 by Felipe Alvarez it seeks to give voice to an independent Latin American sound. It began as a risky but refreshing venture with the intention of releasing music that didn’t seem to have room in the national market.

Polen Records has produced or released some of the most important acts of Colombia and South America. In 2013, Polen was first nominated at the Latin Grammy Awards with Bomba Estéreo's album Elegancia Tropical (2012) as Best Alternative Music Album.

This compilation, ‘Mar de Leva’ is slice of that inspirational vision.

“The catalogue exposes the artistic line we helped to create and seek to maintain, revealing the multicultural identity of our country. Our roster includes cult bands such as Bajotierra and Sidestepper, singer Ella Fuksbrauner, Mucho Indio, Bomba Estéreo, Radio Cumbia, Cero39 and Mitú. Artists such as Chocquibtown, Pernett and Sol Okarina have also been part of the family and shared their music with us.

At Polen Records we admire and appreciate the music our artists create and understand our job as a collective effort to get this music to the widest audience possible.” Felipe Alvarez

This compilation, drawn from various albums and sources, has tracks at both 24 bit and 16 bit.

Bomba Estéreo

Back in 2005, visual artist Simón Mejía began a collaborative project that explored the new sounds of Colombian traditional rhythms and melodies with electronic beats and western structures influenced by pioneer bands such as Sidestepper and Bloque De Búsqueda. For this project, Simón brought together different DJs and musicians in 7 tracks that eventually became Bomba Estéreo´s first EP, Vol.1, released in 2006 by Polen Records. This EP included the song “Huepaje” that featured guest singer Li Saumet and gave way to the first building blocks of what would later become Bomba Estéreo's international debut, ‘Estalla / Blow Up’ (Polen Records 2008). Ever since, Li Saumet has been the voice and face of the band, teaming up with Julián Salazar on guitars and Kike Egurrola on drums, Simón on the bass and sequences and Felipe Alvarez in the musical production.



Following their performance in Roskilde (Denmark, 2010), where they first received international exposure, Bomba Estéreo has played over 300 shows in more than 100 different cities, performed at some of the most outstanding festivals around the world and reached thousands of fans through their music. Bomba Estéreo's songs have been featured in videogames (FIFA 2010), advertising (McDonald´s) and Hollywood films (Limitless).

Mitú

Mitú presents electronic dance music reminiscent of the jungle, born from analogue synthesizers. Their music is made with synthesizers and rhythm machines matched by the alegre (Colombian traditional drum) and occasional vocal improvisations in palenquero (Palenque´s dialect of African bantú origin). Mitú´s music completely excludes the computer, giving the sound and timbre great freedom and dynamism when playing live.



Guitarist and producer Julián Salazar (Bomba Estéreo, Ella Fuksbrauner) has joined Lamparita, one of the best ‘alegreros’ from San Basilio de Palenque, in an experimental quest to blend Colombia’s strong African heritage with modern synthesizers and dance-inducing rhythm machines.

The live show is determinately focused on dancing. The tracks are long, with the purpose of emphasizing the synthesizer's melodic and rhythmic lines. The alegre plays unexplored and original rhythms that blend with the beats giving them new accents and cadences evolving into contemporary electronic music.

Palanke Soultribe

Palenke Soultribe are a live electronic production duo taking electronic music to new heights by deconstructing Afro-Colombian rhythms and blending them with modern beats, catchy bass lines and synthesized arpeggios. Based in Los Angeles, Palenke Soultribe (PST) are always pushing the envelope visually and conceptually, representing a new generation of Colombian musicians ready to break all the rules.

Palenke Soultribe was formed by producer/bassist Juan Diego Borda (a.k.a. Insectosound) and producer/ keyboardist Andres “Popa” Erazo. PST enjoy working as a collective, inviting guest producers, singers, songwriters and instrumentalists to their shows and to contribute on their albums.

Crew Peligrosos

Hip Hop was born in 1973 in the Bronx, New York. Kevin Donovan, head of the criminal gang Black Spades, one of the most feared of the city, was surprised to see a young rival gang singing and dancing, instead of fighting, in the park to the music of Clive Campbell, known as DJ Kool Herc. In November of that year, Donovan found a name for it, Hip Hop, based on his new goal in life: promoting peace in the slums of New York.



History, it seems, is repeating itself. Henry Arteaga, founder of Crew Peligrosos in Aranjuez district in Medellin, has created a neighborhood community through music and dance. Arteaga, aka El Jke, grew up in the V, one of the most dangerous blocks of Medellin in the 90's, when the only way to survive, ironically, was violence. Henry refused that option. Instead he formed his gang of 17 young people to make music, breakdance and create graffiti art. They have a school where they teach hip hop for free to over 200 youths of the neighborhood, as well as other schools in the district. And the name? Crew Peligrosos. Are they dangerous? No, they represent a solution.

Born into the violence, the reaction is non-violent and creative. Their first record, "Medayork" released in 2013 by Polen Records, is an 8-track album full of sharp lyrics, latin-influenced instrumentals and hip hop beats.

Matta Collective

Matt Collective are a brand new development in contemporary Colombian collaboration. A new project created by producers Mauricio Garcia and Matthias Engstrom that started in London a few years ago, this collaboration between Colombian and Danish musicians is an interesting blend with influences from Dubstep and Latin.

Los Extramuros

Los Extramuros is the studio project of musician and anthropologist Lucas Guingue and Julian Salazar (leader of Mitú and guitar player for Bomba Estéreo.) Together they spend endless hours locked in the studios of Polen Records looking for textures and fresh beats that bring a refreshing atmosphere to their music, creating mainly instrumental avant-garde sounds.

Mucho Indio

Mucho Indio is a musical journey, committed to the recovery of earth's sacred sounds, which brings us closer to the ethnic and cultural diversity of indigenous Colombia.



In the search for ancestral wisdom and its spirituality, the musicians are making a new kind of music by combining traditional melodies with modern western techniques in a new racial mix based on respect. Mucho Indio is the musical version of the paleofuturist laboratory, a method that Teto Ocampo describes as “the search for the music of the future in the past. To learn from the ritual in ancestral music in order to find a new ritual that allows music to be done with your guts and genes.”

Mucho Indio is the result of more than five years of on-the-ground research investigation lead by Ocampo in a journey that took him through different regions of Colombia going from Nabusímake in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta all the way down to the thick jungles of the Amazon.

This journey to ancestral memory and wisdom contains circular melodies that induce a soothing trance, bringing back the ritual in indigenous music to urban settings.

Glasford Howard

Singer-songwriter Glasford Howard was born and raised in Providence Island. His extraordinary voice and talent soon resulted in a collaboration with Shakira on "Un Poco de Amor" - one of her most emblematic songs. He subsequently moved to Spain where he lives now and will be releasing his third studio album soon. His inspiration is described as “Jah Rastafari uniting, singing, praying and playing the songs of redemption, salvation and direction to Jah love Eternal”.

Mónica Giraldo

Mónica Giraldo is a singer-songwriter from Colombia who released three independent albums before earning a nomination for Best New Artist at the 2008 Latin Grammys. Critically acclaimed, her music blends together pop and jazz, and a variety of Latin rhythms; sometimes likened to a Latin version of Norah Jones, her music is generally acoustic yet thoroughly contemporary in style. Born in Medellin, Colombia, Mónica studied music at Universidad de los Andes and subsequently studied further at Berklee College of Music in Boston after earning a scholarship in 1999. A few years later she made her full-length solo album debut with "Mónica Giraldo" (2002), a self-released effort recorded live at the BPC in Boston in April 2002. Her second full-length album "Muy Cerca" (2005) Discos Fuentes, a studio album produced by Felipe Alverez in Bogota. In 2008 her third album, "Todo da Vueltas" (2008), produced by Mauricio Pantoja was released.

Dub Across Borders

With a strong anchor in the dub genre, the music of Dub Across Borders takes on folkloric instruments and rhythms and puts them in a contemporary context, drawing on influences from many parts of the world: Colombian percussion, African voices and the big echoes of Jamaican dub are some of the key ingredients.



Dub Across Borders was founded by Mathias Engstrøm while travelling around South America. As the project was taken back to London, he has now formed a live band around the concept, including vocalists, percussion and a variety of instrument players

From both the slow, dub-techno infused lounge vibes to uplifting, cumbia-inspired roots, the music is crossing borders. There is both a conscious and playful mood to his music in both recordings and live performance.

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