High energy, colorful sets and eclectic beats is what Ecuador's Swing Original Monks brings to audiences. Their sound is unique, a fusion of various musical genres, with noticeable influences from the Andean highlands. Since 2010, this band has created what they describe as a multicultural party, transmitting urban poetry both in and outside of Ecuador.
"Swing Original is the heartbeat, the beat, the first rhythm. So in every culture, if you go back to the origin of each culture, they all have something in common, which is the rhythm. So for this reason each one is searching for this original swing,” said founder and singer of the band Gabriel Baumann in an interview with teleSUR English.
On their distinct style, he went on to say, “We are very free, we go where our heart takes us, to our own beat. We take rhythms from various places, a ton of places, we use merengues, sometimes we use the pasillo which is from here, but we let it flow. So we never are strict in keeping with the rhythm. Just like how monkeys are not very strict. We are very open in our composition, and we mix everything."
Coming from Ecuador, Colombia, Europe and the United States, the eight members of Swing Original Monks bring their own musical preferences and ideas to the group. On stage, they present what they call a cosmic fanesca, a typical Ecuadorean dish made from tens of ingredients.
On this comparison, singer Natalia Madrigal told teleSUR English,"Have you tried fanesca? It is a plate filled with ingredients, with mixed flavors. This is the form we take, in how we show where each of us come from, and what we always listen to, what we like, so the sound of the monks is this, it is respecting these influences, and not leaving them to the side in favor of another genre. It is mixing these genres and sounds to create something original."
The human condition, social and environmental issues are some of the themes touched on in this original swing. The recently released video of the song Caminito takes viewers on a personal journey, through the highlands of Ecuador, showcasing the region's diversity of landscapes.
"Caminito is a song that talks about letting yourself be taken down a path. And this path, well it is life. It is as if you were constantly looking behind, like as if you were clinging, holding onto the past. The idea is letting yourself be taken by this path, that flows, like a river where it takes you. The path goes, it continues, and it does not return,” said Baumann.
Swing Original Monks performs on the streets, in bars and cafes, and as a major performer at renowned national and international festivals. The lyrics and beats resonate with a wide variety of audiences, carrying a sound that has a little bit of each musical influence for everyone to enjoy.