Culcha Candela

    Don’t call it a comeback. But after a two-year break and their imminent return to the media spotlight it soon becomes clear to all how accustomed we have become to the presence of the Culcha Candela hit machine and that we have missed their easy-flowing, well-written catchy tunes.

    Hamma!, Monsta, Berlin City Girl, Von Allein – to name but a few – are in the best sense of the term melodies for millions – cinema soundtrack hits and real chart toppers. What also distinguishes these Berlin artists and helped pave the way to the premier league of German music acts is their boundless energy when performing live. Those who witnessed the band’s first, self-organised concerts in 2002/2003 could sense the fun, the power, the charm that would later set Culcha Candela apart at the large festivals and on their sell-out tours. And those who followed their development could observe how the band, despite evolving from a mix of Latin, reggae and hip-hop to an electronic, club sound, have never forgotten their roots. 

    The remarkable ten-year run – six albums, three of which reaching platinum status and one gold – would not have been possible anyway without the band’s constant development. In Culcha Candela’s case – with an original seven-man line-up (or rather: seven front men) – changes in personnel came about with the first, self-imposed break: Mr. Reedoo and Larsito left the band to go their own, separate ways. It was a challenge indeed, however the first shows with the four remaining members proved unreservedly that the collective is always more important than the individual.

    As painful as the loss of long-standing colleagues may be, at the end of the day very little has changed to the overall picture. None of Culcha Candela’s terrific entertain qualities have been forfeited. Quite the opposite in fact. While working on their new album, shortly before the release of the first single, and when performing on stage, the band comes across as being more focused and having more energy than previously. Johnny Strange, Don Cali, DJ Chino and Itchy – the four band members – are all pulling in one direction and understand today, better than ever before, what this joint project means to them.

    One further factor that has played a role since the day the band was founded is their commitment to social issues. The very existence of Culcha Candela is a statement for integration, for a mixed Germany and for mutual respect. This topic was just as current 10 years ago as it is today with demonstrators in German inner cities demanding an end to multiculturalism and immigration and calling for a ‘defining German culture’. The band, whose parents for various reasons emigrated to Germany many years ago, hold very clear views opposing such thinking which they air on stage, via social media and on their new album.

    As can be seen, some things change a lot other things not at all. Even after reducing the line-up, Culcha Candela still typifies what the band has been from day one: a motley bunch with roots on four continents, the fusion of hip-hop, reggae and Latin sounds, standing up for integration and tolerance, a crew that lights up every stage, friends making music together and producing hit after hit after hit.