Andrés Gualdrón Ramírez
Since the decade of the 1960’s the Picó phenomenon has been growing in Colombia’s northern coast, becoming one of the most distinctive, massive and highly discussed music-related practices in the region. Showing resemblances with the parties held in the context of the Jamaican Soundsystem, the Picó is a public party thrown mostly in popular black neighborhoods in northern cities such as Cartagena and Barranquilla, where very exclusive and hard-to-find African and Caribbean vinyl records are played at very high volumes through technologically enhanced speakers. Over time, the Picó phenomenon gave way to a music industry of it’s own, developing itself in a conflicting relationship with urban legal regulations and copyright laws; also, it generated a cult of followers who, on time, began developing local recordings that reflected and even copied these influences. Their style of music ultimately became very popular in Colombia under the name of champeta criolla.
For the first part, my research would focus on the history of the Picó phenomenon: it’s chronological development specifically during the 80’s (when the practice began it’s biggest expansion), the musical, visual and business focus of it’s different competitors, their relationship with local politics and their diffusion strategies. For the second part I would analyze this phenomenon from a media perspective, understanding the Picó as a music diffusion device with technological, aesthetical and practical characteristics that had a deep impact on the music culture of the region and specifically on it’s music production practices.