Gondwana

While reggae might be generally associated with Jamaica and then Africa, the influence of Bob Marley and roots reggae has traveled the world, even into South America where it inspired the formation of Gondwana, a Chilean band that has slowly made an impact around the globe. Formed in 1987, during the years of the Pinochet dictatorship in their native land, the band had to keep a relatively low profile until the political climate eased, as the government wasn't too keen on a younger generation airing beliefs that didn't mesh with their own, especially if they involved Rastafarianism, with its peaceful approach to life. In some ways, that slow development was good, because it gave them a chance to work out their own sound, which, according to singer Quique Niera, became "very rockish, but we also have the South American traditional rhythms, like the bolero." That mix showed up to some extent on their debut Together in 1996, but really came to fruition four years later on their sophomore effort, Second Coming. In Chile the album was titled Alabanza, and proved to be a breakthrough, rocketing them to the top of the national charts. The extracted single "Antonia" also proved to be a chart-topper. The album didn't shy away from political issues, with "Libertad" dealing frankly with the justice and peace that eluded Chileans during the dictatorship. In the wake of the album's U.S. release on RAS, Gondwana undertook a world tour. ~ Chris Nickson

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