Colombian duo Aterciopelados are one of the most innovative and influential groups to emerge from the Latin alternative rock wave of the 1990s. The duo of Andrea Echeverri (acoustic guitar & lead vocals) and Héctor Buitrago (bass guitar) fused imaginative songwriting with impressionistic art rock and a variety of Latin American and international musical traditions, including mariachi, bolero, tropical and flamenco. The result was a wholly original and organic sound that won them fans all over the Spanish-speaking worldand garnered them two Grammy nominations and one Grammy win in 2001.
Aterciopeladoswhose name translates loosely as "The Velvets"first came together as a four piece in Bogotá in the early 90s, with Andrés Giraldo and Charly Márquez playing alongside Echeverri and Buitrago. Originally called "Delia y los Aminoacidos," the group had a distinctly punk soundall buzzsaw guitars and crashing drumsthat can be heard on their 1993 debut Con El Corazón En La Mano. But even then the group was experimenting with non-rock sources, as evidenced by their inclusion of the traditional Colombian folk song "La cuchilla."
By 1994's El Dorado Echeverri and Buitrago had emerged as the creative force behind the group, with Echeverri taking on the songwriting and Buitrago the arrangements. Together they translated Echiverri's idiosyncratic, art-school honed vision into a startlingly original new sound that incorporated traditional Colombian llaneros and boleros into the mix. This new sound scored them their first big hit, the flamenco-bolero flavored "Bolero Falaz," which became a staple of MTV Latino and made them stars all over Latin America
Following up on the success of "Bolero Falaz," Aterciopelados made their North American breakthrough with 1996's La Pipa De La Paz, which propelled them to their first US tour and an appearance in the MTV Unplugged series. This was followed by 1998's experimental Caribe Atómicorecorded in New York with such downtown luminaries as Arto Lindsay and Marc Ribotand 2000's moody and atmospheric Gozo Poderoso, which won them a Grammy for Best Latin Rock Album.
Over the next few years, Echeverri took time off to have a baby and returned to recording in 2005 with a self-titled solo album devoted to her experience as a new mother. Buitrago took his solo turn in early 2006 with his Conector record (both appeared on each other's solo outings), and the duo released Oye in the fall of 2006. The album was their first new studio recordings as Atercipelados in five years, and well worth the waitfull of the subtle art rock, intensely personal lyrics, traditional Colombian flourishes and occasional big stadium anthems that make the band so complex and satisfying.Tom Pryor