FairTunes, Colombia



In September and October of 2010 we built a centrally located studio that could serve musicians from all over Bogota. This was made possible thanks to a generous donation from the Strummerville Foundation which enabled us to purchase equipment for the studio.

SO FAR… 2014

2014 has so far been a really exciting year. It kicked off with the release of A Golpe de Tambo  by Palmeras de Uraba – the double album that was recorded by Fairtunes and Mr Toe in the Caribbean town of Necocli. Produced and mastered in Colombia and Chile, the remix album was mastered by Curved Pressings in London with the CD production by Curved Pressings also.

This important album was nominated for best folklore album in the important Colombian music magazine Shock. Also the Carmelo Torres Album that we produced was nominated for the same prize.

Pacho has continued his important work with displaced indigenous communities in Bogota. He has run several series of workshops for different indigenous tribes that have to live in the capital. Working with young and old these workshops are particularly important to the preservation of their cultures away from their raw ravaged homelands.

One such project culminated in a large number of the Embera community returning to their home and performing a concert . Pacho has since travelled out to the community again to carry on the recording process that he began in far off Bogota. This is a project and a link that will hopefully continue into the distant future.


Embera Katio2013 saw some great things happen for us in Colombia. We cemented our long standing collaboration with Carmello Torres with the production of the Accordionists first album with his own band. This was the culmination of much hard and work by Fairtunes Lola who produced the album literally all over the country.

Fairtunes engineer and Colombia project coordinator Pacho took equipment to the sleepy Caribbean town of Necocli to record the group Palmeras de Uraba in their home town. This fantastic bulerengue group were recorded by Pacho and Mauricio Sandoval who brought the project together. The band recorded an amazing Album ‘A Golpe de Tambo’ which was then sent around the world for DJs and producers to turn into an accompanying remix album.

Perhaps most importantly of all in 2013, Pacho began to work with displaced indigenous communities in Bogota. Working primarily with the Embera community who had to flee there homeland due to the decades long civil war that has ravaged the country. Pacho worked with them to help them express themselves through music as well as recording their own culture in order that it is not lost during their imposed hiatus. The culmination of the project with the Embera was the production of a CD and a successful concert that they put on in Bogota.


_3611061We were very excited to gain a new engineer/studio co-ordinator in our Bogotá studio. Pacho is highly experienced in his craft was soon very busy recording local bands, running workshops and raising awareness.
We launched a brand new series of 16 hour workshops in the Bogotá studio in four different skills: studio recording, live music engineering, Protools and commercial and authorial rights. As usual workshops were low cost with free places set aside to ensure no one was turned away for lack of funds.

Carmelo Torres was the first artists to record in the FairTunes studio in El Salado and we mastered an album with the accordion master in the Bogota Studio.

We raised funds to record an album with bands from around Bogota and also to stream regular shows from the studio to support the students’ work. There were  plans in the pipeline for virtual workshops with artists, producers and music and radio industry pundits in the UK to hold Q&A’s with our trainees in Bogota.


6824556_origFairTunes collaborated with the renowned Bogotá music festival Bogotrax. From February 15-18, Bogotrax ran a music program for 10 young producers from the FairTunes studio in the Boogaloop centre in central Bogotá.

The workshops were aimed at producers that had a particular piece that they wanted to perfect and the course was run by the Colombian musician Amós Piñeros, the Colombian DJ and producer Sonico and the composer Juan Forero. The aim was for local artists to share fundamental techniques for producing music with the live arena in mind. All the artists performed their pieces live on line through a video conference.


5156430_origFT director Jon Last and fantastic volunteer Tim Giddings built the studio along with help from local musician Diego Guerrero. The location was hip music venue ‘Boogaloop’ in the Chapinero district at the heart of Bogotá. Read Jon’s Blog to get a flavour of what happened during this third phase.

We are extremely proud to have opened a FairTunes’ studio at the beginning of October with a series of workshops sponsored by the ‘Orquesta Filarmonica de Bogotá’ (OFB) and their ‘Hip Hop al Parque’ music festival. FT director Nick Minton ran two week-long courses aimed at young hip hoppers from poor socio-economic backgrounds. The first course was an introduction to studio music production at the end of which the group produced their own track. Listen to the tracks.

The second course, which Nick taught alongside local producer and musician Mike Cerdá, was for a more advanced group and went into more specific aspects of hip hop production.

Since we left the work with the OFB participants has continued, with seven groups having returned to record music to date with FT engineer Estefanía Calderón. The remaining groups are currently recording demos with Estefanía and we are also revising the next wave of applicants who have applied to record their music in the studio.

We are very fortunate to have an indefatigable team in Bogotá consisting of Alix Lesmes, Laurie Sauloy and Ricardo Cubides. We send out our utmost thanks to them. Undertaking the day to day running of the studio is our Colombian administrator Angélica Moreno Franco.