Locomondo is a band in Greece with millions of fans in Greece and internationally. Peru-born Pedro Fabian is a well known musician in the Latin musical scene of Athens. Lilian Alexakou spoke to Pedro and band member Markos Koumaris about Peru, Greece, and the influence of Andean music on the band’s style.
Who are Locomondo and what is your connection with Latin music?
Markos Koumaris: Locomondo is a seven-member band from Athens-Greece, composed of Markos Koumaris (Vocals/Guitar), Yiannis Varnavas (Guitar/Vocals), Stamatis Goulas (Keyboards/Sampler), Spyros Mpesdekis (Bass), Stratos Sountris (Drums), Mike Mourtzis (Percussion), and Thanasis Tampakis (Sound Engineer).
Our common musical trait is Caribbean music and mainly Reggae and Ska music. However, personally I feel a special love for Latin music and in some tracks we add Latin elements. My favorite rhythms are Cumbia, Merengue, and Son Cubano. In 2009 I worked with the Latin-Greek band Apurimac on the song “Den Prolaveno (no time).” Lately I have discovered and I am particularly interested in Brazilian music.
L.A: What do you say to those who have never been in Greece, and to those who’ve not been to Peru?
Pedro-Fabian: If someone thinks to come for holidays in Greece I would say that generally it is a beautiful place because, as with every other country, it has different and unique natural and cultural attractions. Until 1995, when I left from Peru, things in my country were very difficult in all aspects, socially, politically, economically, etc. It’s a beautiful country like all countries in Latin America, if we exclude the poverty which still afflicts the region.
L.A: Have you been to Latin America? What inspires you about Peru?
Markos Koumaris: I’ve travelled to Cuba, Uruguay, and Chile and in 2005 the band went to Jamaica where we recorded our album ‘12 days in Jamaica.’ I’ve always had great feelings for the Andean music although I’ve never been there. I am attracted by the feeling of melancholy that these melodies have and the way of singing. You get the notion that this is a very old music. People of Peru and Bolivia are among the poorest in Latin America and they gain my admiration because they survive through severe problems, stoically and stubbornly.
L.A: What kind of music do you play? And, how do Greeks react to music from Peru?
Pedro-Fabian: I play three different kinds of music, Latin American including local Peruvian, La Salsa, and Flamenco. A large percentage of Greeks enjoy this Peruvian-Latin sound, hence various Greek musicians and composers incorporate Latin American elements in their CDs. Recently Markos Koumaris did it, in his last album ‘Odyssey.’
L.A: Which is the story behind your song “ekei pou ho taxidepsei (where I have travelled)” and your collaboration with Pedro Fabian?
Markos Koumaris: I’ve been travelling from a young age and in this song I wanted to express feelings that I experienced in my encounters with some of the poorest people in the world. I created its melody, and thought of its atmosphere when I was coming out of the cinema after watching the movie Motorcycle Diaries.
Pedro was in my mind for a long time, because he is very good musician and well known in the Latin musical scene of Athens. After we got to know him better, we saw that he is also a great person. The truth is that without his help we would never achieve the same result. Beyond anything else, he had the patience to explain to us, everything about the musical instruments he plays and the correct way to use them, in order to play music from Peru. We learned a lot! And from our side, we invited him in a series of important concerts where we performed the song together
L.A: Does your joint music inspire friendship and encourages multicultural collaborations?
Pedro Fabian: Sure, we should not entrench borders between different cultures and in this thing that we call civilization. In a society the coexistence of multicultural components causes creation of new and different kinds of music and beyond. Multiculturalism teaches us to respect “one another” and all forms of difference.
Markos Koumaris: I wish. Besides, the role of music is to build bridges between people and nations.