The Odyssey



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Hear Claudia Gomez perform

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Claudia Gomez
Claudia Gomez grew up in Medellin, Colombia, but although she grew up in the city, she says she was "very much in touch with the country. We often went to the mountains and the Atlantic coast on holidays, holidays and I especially remember the black people on the coast playing cumbias, not the commercial kind of cumbia you hear on the radio, but the typical (folkloric) kind, with only voices and percussion. We call it costeno music."

When Gomez was 12, her mother began guitar lessons, and Claudia sat in, eventually getting her own teacher. With her mother she played Mexican rancherias, and other Latin American pop songs. In high school Gomez and some classmates formed Cuarteto Ellas, a group that sang acoustic Latin music backed by the quartet's four acoustic guitars. In the early '70s, Claudia followed her brother Luciano to England where they busked in tube stations, singing tunes by Dylan, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and other 70s icons.

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After returning to Colombia and moving to Bagota in '76, Gomez started her professional career, singing with bands and traveling around the countryside investigating typical music. "Brazilian music was very big at the time, and very rich harmonically, but I also loved the percussive drive of typical Colombian music. I began dreaming about making music that would combine these two lements."

In the early '80s Gomez and her brother came to the San Francisco Bay Area, where she continues to live and work, both a solo artist and in collaboration with other artists in the thriving Bay Area Latin music scene. She has appeared to rave reviews at the Monterey Jazz Festival and recorded three albums worth of her own unique fusion of Brazilian and Colombian music.

"Soltarlo," from her 1995 Xenophile album Tierradentro is a smooth acappella excursion. "I've always loved pure vocal music, choirs and vocal groups, as well as the guitar. On this song, the vocals follow the path a guitar would take in exploring the changes of the melody." "Soltarlo" is a heartfelt song that describes a desire to forget past romances and begin life anew with optimism and hope.

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This information and world music sample are compliments of Putumayo World Music. Putumayo’s mission is to introduce people to other cultures through music, and towards this end they have released dozens of CDs and cassettes featuring some of the best music from around the world.

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