achili- achili achilifunk!    Before the white pirate shorts, the ultramodern shades, the dodgy toothpick speared "Basque bar snacks", the jugglers with rasta hair and foreign tourist hordes, Barcelona was also home to another modernity. Streetwise modern music with gypsy soul and rhythm. That musical panorama has been revisited and is put on show on the book/record Achilifunk: Gypsy Soul 69-79 (lovemonk records.) The Balde got its Zarautz-Barna connection on the job and got Makala and Txarly Brown together for a bit of a chat. Txarly fills us in on everything behind the whole shebang. Makala- Up until a short while ago, you were considered as being a master of black music, especially everything to do with Jamaica. You knowledgably featured calypso, ska, rocksteady and more in the now-extinct FBI quality fanzine. When did you start collecting rumba, gypsy and flamenco records?
Txarly- I started collecting rumba and flamenco records at the end on the nineties. I was looking for stuff I could use as loops and samplers on my electronica mixes. I really got into the quality and wealth the 70s’ material very quickly.

M- When you consider the vast amount of rumba singles, LPs and rarities you have in your collection, how did you decide what to include on and what to exclude from the Achilifunk compilation? What songs were left out? Would you like there to be more followups?
Tx- The idea behind the record is to show the Afro-American and Afro-Latin influence on rumbas and to a certain extent on flamenco. While I was doing research on that, I discovered that many different types of fusion took place at the time; Gypsy Rock, Flamenco-Pop, etc... and all of them could be lumped in the same sack. The most unfortunate obstacle was that we couldn’t include Chacho’s boogaloo rumbas or Fania’s noire rumbas because of author rights. It would be great if the project could continue autonomously. What I mean is, the key to exporting our music lies in local artists realising that they need to explore our own musical identities. Nowadays, electronic and dance music (just like rock and pop) needs to look into the past in order to go forward. An example of this is what Los Planetas have done.

M- In your collection, it’s plain to see that the instrumental and compositional standards of the 70s was very high and that it could easily have achieved the levels of success enjoyed by black music, boogaloo and latin music and the record labels Mowtown, Fania, Alegre... What would have happened if that had come off? If the rumba had managed to make it internationally and had enjoyed worldwide success? Did Peret achieve this in his own way?
Tx- If it had enjoyed that type of success in its time, I certainly wouldn’t be here rediscovering it now…Peret licensed his records all over the world and he exported rumbas all over the world. Unfortunately, nobody followed in his footsteps.

M- In the beautiful accompanying book you state that this style will not break into the Anglo-Saxon ruled world of dance music until the likes of Fatboy Slim or Master at Work remixes or creates a hit mix of music by Pescailla or Los Amayas. I totally agree with that reading, but what I would like to ask you is whether the former would be prepared to do something like that for musical reasons and not financial ones?
Tx- I’m sure if they heard this stuff, they would love it and be prepared to do something. Unfortunately, money makes the music world go round. That said, if they won’t do it, we always can, albeit with less of an impact.

M- I see that you’re off on a bit of a mega tour to promote Achilifunk. At your age does the idea of climbing up into a cabin to spin decks and get people dancing still attract you?
Tx- No, not at all, it’s really difficult to connect with the dance floor if you’ve stopped going to clubs to enjoy yourself. I still love listening to music, but in the appropriate place, without crowds of people around, with the need to get off your head on drugs, lose the plot and try to shift someone... That’s probably what most keeps me away from the cabin. The reason why I’m going on tour is to promote the record because I believe it deserves to be promoted.