Kiko Villamizar is one of the acts performing at the 4th annual Madness on Main music festival May 28. Here’s what you should know.

Kiko Villamizar’s music is a fusion of Afro-Colombian, reggae, and other Latin world beats. Having traveled back and forth from South America and the United States for most of his formative years, Kiko’s music finds its place as a sort of earthy jazz – what he would describe as a “celebration of Mother Earth.” The lyrics to his songs are lamentations of the injustices he has seen in his travels.

Kiko just released his sophomore album, Aguas Frias, earlier this year. You can catch him in Houston this weekend at the Madness on Main music festival.

HC: Where are you from? What was it like growing up?

 

KV: I was born to Colombian parents in Miami and then taken to Colombia and raised on a coffee farm in the Andes near Medellin. We would move back and forth to the States and back to the farm throughout my childhood, living in the “hood” in the States and in the “campo” in Colombia.

 

HC:  How has all of that affected your music?

 

KV: My entire family played and sang Colombian folk music, and in the ‘hood, I listened to hip hop.  It made me a very balanced kind of bicultural. Kids made fun of how I spoke everywhere so I made it a point to learn better Spanish and english than anybody else. Colombia, at the time, was going through war. This made me very passionate for finding truth.

 

HC: Describe your music style.

 

KV: My style matches my Colombian roots.

 

HC: Now, describe your personal style.

 

KV: My look? I don’t know. I’m a South American Indian. My blood is Andean and Amazonian. I sound and look like it.

 

HC: What do you feel is your specific place in today’s music?

 

KV: My music is medicine for people. It also is my form of organizing. Everyone understands how to dance cumbia. It is what everyone can agree on – when to put your hips here or your feet there. We cant agree as humans on things, all the time, but music is the most obvious form of magic. Everyone in a stadium somehow knows how to clap at the same exact time because of a song.

 

HC: Who are your influences?

 

KV: My influences are my grandmother, my mother, my elders. Also, Sixto Silgado “Paito” y los Gaiteros de Punta Brava, Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto, and Toto la Momposina.

 

HC: If you could record with one artist, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

 

KV: One artist? My mother. She passed before I ever got to record. It would be like a duet with myself, as synchronized and tight as possible.

 

HC: What else should we know about your music?

 

KV: I’m throwing a festival series in San Antonio June 18th at the Guadalupe Theater, and in Austin at Kenny Durham’s Backyard on June 24th. It is called WEPA Cumbia Roots Fest. I am bringing my biggest influence from Colombia, Paito y los gaiteros de Punta Brava.

 

For more information on Kiko Villamizar and to hear some of his music, visit his site at www.kikovillamizar.com.

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