Colombian singer Carlos Vives brings ‘everybody’s party’ to Houston

May 3, 2017

Carlos Vives says it’s going to be “everybody’s party.”

The Colombian singer, who owns multiple Grammy trophies, is talking about his Thursday night concert at the Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land. It’s the only Texas stop on his tour, which is in support of his upcoming album “Vives.” It also follows the surge of hit song “La Bicicleta” (“The Bicycle”), which features Colombian singer Shakira and was winner of the 2016 Latin Grammy awards for song of the year and record of the year.

With “Vives,” which will be released later this year, the artist continues developing his trademark rhythms of vallenato and cumbia styles with some new explorations. He recently talked about that synthesis of sounds and the atmosphere at his concerts.

Q: Why do you say your concert is “La fiesta de todos,” or “everybody’s party”?

A: I hope it will be a party for everybody to have a good time. But we also call it like that in a sort of philosophical way. We have had the opportunity to tour the United States with some frequency, and it has allowed us to grow an audience during the years. There are many places (in the U.S.) where our Latin ancestors take us, and Houston is one of those cities. It’s like the spirit of our concerts in the United States attracts everyone, that is, Latinos bringing their American brothers, the Colombians bringing their Cuban friends, and somehow our music unites us more. So I like to call these tours “everybody’s party.”

Somehow our cultures know each others better here in the U.S. than in each of our countries. Here, we are all part of the same.

Q: Tell us about the album “Vives.”

A: It’s an album that allowed me to create tracks with certain bases of our (Latin) music that remain ancestral, both of cumbia and vallenato. In the end, my work always goes on these bases, whether we do happy things, or things that are more romantic or sadder.

Whatever mood I am when I am working, there are always very ancestral percussions and styles of our cumbia and vallenato, even though they sound modern and urban. In the end, modern and urban music work with ancestor’s and roots (music), just as it was with rock ‘n’ roll at the beginning. Urban music works with root patterns.

The good songs of reggaeton, of the champesas, the dancehall and all that, in one way or another, they are root music.

Q: There is a strong trend toward urban rhythms in the industry.

A: That revival of urban sounds has also been an advantage for us because we work with those patterns. This album has a little bit of that. It continues to be of different sides of our ancestral music but connected with new sounds.

Q: How was the creative process for the album?

A: I try to make a balanced album, where I can represent a little about the different musical currents. Then there is what I call “the rock of my village,” the music that was the modernity for our ancestral patrons. For example, we made songs that have the Andean air from the inland savannahs, Bogotá, Boyacá and all of those lands. Some Andean airs and sounds connect very well with the vallenatos and cumbias because, in the end, vallenato and cumbia also have great Andean ingredients.

In this album, we also explored things from our music from the Pacific. These are afro-Colombian flows from the coast, but not from the Caribbean shore, with which we have worked already a lot.

Q: How about your lyrics? They seem to be very important to you.

A: The message is important to me. That’s why I still like to work the album as a project instead of going into a war of singles, where people fight over who comes first to the market, or rather, who invests less and earns more.

You have to think about the album, the messages. How not to let yourself be touched as an artist when one lives in a country and in a world … (I ask myself) how not to make a song, for example, about the mistreatment of women or the tragedies that we see? How not to make that song to cyclists (“La Bicicleta”)? How not to make that song to the woman, how not to remain romantic? I ask myself those questions when I am creating, and before I know, I have 16 or 17 songs and haven’t sung yet to all I want to sing to.

Q: You have said that, in the midst of everything, it’s important to keep the joy.

A: Yes, and I think that’s becoming more urgent: Not to lose the joy. Being the child that we are, that we will continue being and that we will carry until always; but it depends more and more on us whether we keep it alive. That innocence … should not be debased.

We all have struggles but have to serve people in our work with the best spirit and with the best vocation.

Q: Will people find joy in your concert?

A: It’s the party of everybody.