25 years ago, a new way to project the tropical music of Colombia and America in the industry was born. From Carlos Vives’ first album experience of Classics of the Province arrives “La Tierra del Olvido” (The land of oblivion) and with it the new Colombian pop that applies the percussive patterns of amphibious culture played on electric instruments such as guitars, basses, and drums, mixing modern instruments with other ancestral ones such as drums, seeds and bagpipes. There a new tropical pop was born (as they called it in Spain) or the Rock of my town as its author calls it. According to critics, its importance also lies in a broader view of the Colombian musical territory.
“La Tierra del Olvido” was Carlos Vives’ first album released under the local Gaira Música label, a division created at that time within the Sonolux record label. This is how the new musical history of Colombia began to be written by Carlos Vives and a new generation of musicians such as Iván Benavides, Richard Blair, Ernesto Ocampo, Mayte Montero, Carlos Iván Medina, Egidio Cuadrado and Luis Ángel “El Papa” Pastor, among others, who expressed the value of Colombian roots in the face of modernity. The set, which today is essential to understand the effervescence of Colombian music in the international industry, includes 11 songs and was released in LP, cassette and CD formats.
- Pá Mayté
- La tierra del olvido
- La cachucha bacana
- Diosa coronada
- La Puya Puyá
- Jam en Jukumey
“La Tierra del Olvido” was the result of a creative laboratory that allowed us to create a powerful concept, in which the local culture dialogued with the world, “says Iván Benavides. The album’s creating process happened in a real natural laboratory in which the artists made creative camps in places like Santa Marta, Parque Tayrona, or Santandercito, Cundinamarca, where the songs were composed and arranged that would later be recorded in the studios of Audiovisión in Bogotá and whose voices and final mix would be performed at Criteria Studios in Miami, Florida.
The video of the song that gives the album its name is remembered as an emblematic audiovisual work from the 90’s era in Colombia. Not only did it show us the members of a band with a renewing rock aesthetic and native roots, but also recreated a love story capable of synthesizing the feeling of a wounded country and at the same time hopeful in better times. La Tierra del Olvido, the music video, is a true masterpiece of the genre, epic in its approach to the majestic landscape of Santa Marta’s Sierra Nevada and at the same time a transgressor of the imported canons and stereotypes of the image by giving prominence to local, peasant and indigenous figures from the Caribbean region. The video is Colombia itself in a few images and showed the country its own face, forgotten and unknown in the big capitals.
However, after many years of being shot in 35 millimeters, only low-quality standard definition versions (SD, 640×480 pixels resolution) could be found online. Fortunately, Carlos Vives himself kept the the original film negative for more than 20 years and in 2015 he commissioned the Colombian production Company, Mestiza Films, the mission of digitizing and restoring his archive. “For some reason, the video had been left out of the era of high definition, in a kind of irony of oblivion …”, says Felipe Montoya, director of Mestiza. “When we opened the cellar where Carlos had kept his file, we found mountains of tapes and Betacams and two 35mm cans that powerfully caught our attention. They were the original negatives of La Tierra del Olvido and Pa ’Mayte. We were excited to be able to restore those videos and we also contacted cinematographer Germano Saracco who had filmed them in the 1990s to guide the color process.”
The stage of bringing the video back to life featured the work of Juan Camilo Restrepo as post-production supervisor and colorist for Mestiza Films, who was personally responsible for bringing the negative to Cinecolor laboratories in Mexico D.F. where it was washed and prepared for a high definition telecine process from which the original assembly was reconstructed. “From this montage and its respective EDL edit list, which contained the original timecode and keycode, we proceeded to scan the negative frame by frame with a 4K resolution (4096 x 3112) in logarithmic DPX containers in the laboratory. The scanner used was the Northlight manufactured by the Filmlight company. The scanned material allowed us to have a very wide frame size, dynamic range and bit depth, so we were able to work with great color accuracy and image quality. The process was carried out using the ACES (Academy Color Encoding System) color space since the material curve was logarithmic. This allowed us to make a very good transformation to the curves and color spaces used for broadcasting on HD television and the web.”
During the color correction process, the material was also cleaned since over time some shots showed scratches, dots and some fungi which deteriorate the image. In this case, a restoration program was used to do a frame by frame digital cleaning. Finally, the process culminated with two masters in UHD-4K (3840 x 2160) and HD (1920 x 1080) both with SRGB and Rec709 color spaces for web and television respectively, so that the audience can once again enjoy this soundtrack of all Colombians.
For Gaira Musica Local and Sony this renovation was important because it celebrates and fills with pride the arrival of one of the albums that changed the history of American music.