I’ve been travelling around SA for a few weeks now but it wasn’t until I arrived in Cali that I realised I hadn’t been to a record shop in one month. Naaaat goooood. Plus, Cali is the capital of Salsa in Colombia, so it was time for a little foray…
First up, Record shops for Salsa classics seem to be hard to come by and/or dying out in Cali. There’s little to no big stores anymore that I could find, so it’s collection based buying from people renting spaces in other shops or as part of a bookstore (librario). These places aren’t really listed anywhere so it’s best to ask around for ‘vinales’ or ‘discos grandes’. when you find the first place, the dealer will be the best person to ask about the next stop.
Atlas Records, Cl 9 Cr8 (through bookshop and upstairs)
3000 COP – 20000 COP (£1 – £5)
Atlas was the perfect place to start off, because you can listen on their old Phillips turntable and there’s a stool. When you listen the music in the shop goes off, but as long as you’re gonna buy something the dude didn’t seem to mind. The layout was organised but at first a little confusing. Genres span Classic Colombian, through Salsa, Pop/Rock etc. Then there are around 3000 mixed records (mainly comps) on the floor, and two blue crates with the more expensive Salsa cuts. It’s worth mentioning that Salsa records are LP’s. He had a big box of 7’s on the floor but I glossed it as they didn’t have sleeves and most were completely battered.
Grupo Niche – Cali Pachanguero (1984)
The defining Cali Salsa record, from the legendary Grupo Niche. So fun, lively and and basically giving Cali the big up. Plus Cowbell!
Hermanos Lebron – Vente Conmigo (1980)
Smooth lady killing sounds from the Lebron bros. Vente Conmigo = Come With Me… Mama
4000 COP – 10000 COP (£1 – £3)
This next shop was basically a house with the ground floor converted into a librario, with a lovely woman owner, a dog cat combination and a smallish (200 or so) collection of Salsa. She also had some older Colombian stuff. She was more than happy to help me search for specific artists and came up good with the distinctive Peurto Rican born, NYC livin Angel Canales.
Sabor y Angel Canales – Hace Tiempo (1975)
A tune which deserves the mantle of: no holds barred party banger.
If anyone has tips for digging in Colombia, please leave info in the comments.