With an effortless expertise at navigating a variety of soulful Latin rhythms, Peregoyo y su Combo Vacaná were known as the “Kings of currulao” for their blend of Colombian folk and Cuban dance music. Vampisoul has reissued their smoking, guitar-heavy album Mi Buenaventura, originally released on the Discos Fuentes label in 1967. It’s a veritable encyclopedia of forms, each track designated with its own subgenre from such Colombian forms as currulao, abozao chocoano, porro and aguabajo to Cuban and Puerto Rican-inspired descarga, bomba, guaracha and son montuno. But whatever the category, it will make you wiggle.

Mournful yet rhythmic horns launch the album on “Rio de Juaji,” an example of the Colombian folk form currulao updated for the swinging ‘60s. Lead singer Marcos Antonio “Markkitos” Micolta fronts an arrangement that highlights the band members’ comfortable interplay and also highlights the percussion of Arcesio “Chenchudino” López and Emiliano Valencia. “La Pluma” (“The Feather”) is an appropriately ticklish example of the aguabajo, an uptempo dance that’s set in motion by a heavy bass line and the scratchy percussion of the güiro; the lyrics aren’t translated, but a central section sounds like the onomatopoeia of the musicians using that feather to get a laugh.

The album’s centerpiece may be the nearly eight-minute “Descarga Vacaná.” Its form inspired by Cuban jam sessions, the infectious, hip-shaking grooves begin with a horn fanfare before a lilting guitar figure (you can hear in its rhythms a similarity to Congolese soukous) launches a vocal chorus heavy with percussion fills and a sensuous bassline. Each section of the ensemble gets a chance to shine, from a few bars of solo bass to percussion and horn showcases and a guitar solo.

The nine-piece Combo Vacaná was formed by Enrique “Peregoyo” Urbano Tenorio (1917-2007) in the Pacific coastal Colombian city of Buenaventura, so the album is essentially a rhythmic homage to his hometown. Peregoyo is credited with bringing his country’s folk traditions into more commercial dance forms. With its cover graced by a colorfully-dressed young woman lounging on a yacht, the record invites you to a rhythmic party.

According to notes by Pablo Yglesias, aka DJ Bongohead, the songs of Mi Buenaventura, “tell stories of animals, hunters and ancestral legends,” which makes one wish for a lyric sheet. The songs come from Peregoyo’s musicians and from folktales gathered in fishing villages, which makes him a kind of folklorist for the discotheque. His tight band includes José Lorenzo “Che” Benítez on guitar, the essential Henry Carvajal on bass and Álvaro Cifuentes, who wrote arrangements and contributed piercing trumpet lines. These musicians took folk forms which may have been relatively staid in their original instrumentation and played them with a looser, jazzy approach and a showmanship you can hear in the horn charts, which you can imagine were performed with full dance routines in concert. Thus, a nation’s folk music was transformed into a commercial and highly danceable pop music with crossover appeal. Come to Mi Buenaventura, Peregoyo and his musical charges invite you. You’ll be glad you visited.

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