Almost all the members of the twenty-strong, Afro-Colombian musical group, from troubled barrio Comuna 13 in west Medellin, are in now California to film the first round of the show.
“I have always dreamed of going to the United States through the big door and God gives it to me at the perfect moment in my career … It is something very big, we have prepared a very good show and I think we will do very well,” said Bryan Castro, a guitarist in the band.
The talent search show is the brainchild of now-defunct star-studded power couple, Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez, as well as super-producer Jamie King, and is to be aired on the Univision channel.
Auditions for the continent-wide search for the Latino stars of tomorrow took place during the summer of 2011.
The group auditioned in front of salsa star Marc Anthony, who was so impressed by the collective that he is covering their travel expenses.
“He said the program did not have enough funds to bring everybody, but he put up the cash himself,” said band leader John Jaime Sanchez.
Jadinson Martinez, trombonist and head of the chirimia-flute section, who came from the department of Choco seven years ago said “We are going with everything we’ve got, for this barrio, for my Choco, for Colombia!”
The group was formed in 2004 with the aim of fusing hip-hop with the rhythms of the Pacific, such as tamborito, currulao, and bambazu as well as salsa, latin jazz, guajira, son Cubano, funk, reggae and electronica.
Since 2005 the group has been developing cultural and academic activities with adults and children, the majority of whom are Afro-Colombian, with the aim of promoting and rescuing the cultural heritage of the Pacific and Caribbean coastal regions of Colombia, where many Afro-Colombians live.