Having reached a 40-year milestone as a group, Grupo Niche, is indelibly linked to Cali, Afro-Colombia and the vision of the maverick composer, lyricist, and poet Jairo Varela. Varela’s incarnation of a brassy, bold new sound, catapulted to the stage during the early 1980s with presentations that melded sound with dance and sealed the group’s destiny as an elevated expression of the working classes.
Considered a prolific composer who wrote every day until his death age 62 in 2012, the disciples of the Varela’s bold legacy continue to make musical history, winning on Sunday their first Grammy. The group clinched the award in the Latin category of the 63 edition for their album titled 40 and which tributes their anniversary and late founder. “It’s the first album we recorded that doesn’t include Jairo’s songs,” remarked the group’s director and producer José Aguirre to Billboard magazine. “There isn’t a second in the album where he’s not there. Fans wanted the group to record new music, but to preserve the sound,” he emphasized.
With hits-turned-anthems, among them Cali pachanguero, Una Aventura, Gota de Lluvia, Nuestro Sueño and Mi Tierra Natal, the recognition by the international recording industry of Grupo Niche’s contribution to music history comes with the release of their latest single Canciones Viejas and included in the award-winning album that incorporates the traditional Afro-Colombian marimba and played by the instrument’s most famous interpreter Hugo Candelario.