Carlos Vives Biography

Carlos Alberto Vives Restrepo, 7 August 1961, Santa Marta, Departamento del Magdalena, Colombia. A former telenovela hunk, singer Carlos Vives puts a sparkling sheen on the countryside musical traditions of his native Colombia. Whereas many of his pop peers trumpet a brand of romanticism that is gaudy and overblown, Vives’ is always rustic and sweet. His voice is hearty and alluring, and his electrifying concerts pack halls throughout the Americas. As an actor in seven different soap operas, he has been a ubiquitous presence on television. However, his aspirations as a musician led Vives to set aside television glamour and reach for his roots. In 1991, he formed the upbeat fusion band, La Provincia, that combines instrumentation such as accordion, gaita (a traditional flute) and guacharaca (a percussion instrument common in vallenato) with the sinewy sound of electric guitar and organ. While his 1993 major debut, Clásicos De La Provincia, made him a relatively unusual representative of traditional music, his role in garnering a wider appreciation for vallenato and cumbia music can hardly be underestimated. His performances grant these bucolic songs of Colombia’s people and pastures a winning pop appeal that has sold millions of records. Full of hope, Vives feels that his music ‘reflects a different Colombia from the [negative] one we’re often shown’. To further his aims, Vives established the record company Gaira Música Local in the late 90s. In 1998 he joined fellow Colombian pop stars Shakira, Charlie Zaa and others onstage in a benefit for victims of an earthquake that destroyed Colombian coffee fields. Vives’ spirited 1999 opus El Amor De Mi Tierra received a 2000 Grammy Award nomination.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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