Colombian born Andrés Cabas’ self-titled debut album came out in just in time to usher in the new Millennium – and it made him a really big star in South America. A 2003 follow up, Contacto, merely solidified his fame and musical cred, earning him a Latin Grammy nomination, as well as three noms at the MTV Latin Awards. He sold millions of records, and his enormous popularity made sure that he would be forever known as merely Cabas.
And while he hadn’t recorded a new album since 2011’s Si Te Dijera – having gone into something of an informal retirement – his 2016 song “Enamorandonos” became a smash in Mexico, playing daily on the TV Azteca show of the same name, as well as appearing on the soundtrack to the hit film Treintona, Soltera Y Fantastica.
Following that, a pair of singles, “Tanto Que Te Amo Tanto” and the sultry, alluring “Rompe Los Niveles,” were released earlier this year and skyrocketed up the charts in Colombia and Ecuador. No surprise, then, a new album is also in the works, which will – a first for him – also feature lyrics in English. Several tracks have been finished in a studio in Medellin, but an official release date has not yet been announced,
He’s also coming to the States to win over a U.S. audience that has proven over the decades that it will indeed enthusiastically embrace the most exciting Latin American artists. This Friday, December 15, he’ll play La Boom in Queens, and then cross the river for an appearance at the Latin music club Envy in New Jersey on Saturday night.
In the meanwhile, in true BlackBook fashion, we asked Cabas to take us around to his fave spots back home in Bogota.
Bogota is a city that is growing constantly and is seeing more and more tourists these days. And downtown where I live, in La Candelaria, is the best place to hang in the heart of the city. It’s notable for its colonial era landmarks. La Macarenais the other central place to go. Both La Candelaria and the La Macarena are filled with ever changing restaurants, art galleries, clubs and events going on 24/7. The early-risers go to work, while the stragglers are still enjoying the night before, with all the noises associated with it.
Bullfighting, Replaced by Concerts
Make sure to see the Santamaría Bullring [dating to 1931]. It is no longer used for this purpose, due in part to the efforts of my first producer Chucho Merchán, who is an animal rights activist. He got Paul McCartney and others to sit down with the mayor and eventually got bullfighting banned. It is a great concert space nowadays.
In La Macarena, my favorite is a small Parisian Bistro called El Patio. It has only ten tables or so and the owner himself is serving most of the time. I like the escargots, which are usually hard to get here.
I like fish and raw fish in particular, but great sushi is not that easy to find here – although more and more sushi places are opening up. The cevicheria Miss Pulpo, on the other hand, is very good, and just may have the freshest fish in town [Bogota is 8660 ft. above sea level!]. They also serve arepa con huevo de jaiba…which I do not know how to translate, just trust me (Note: They are egg-filled corn cakes).
Another fish place I like, and which is not that well known yet, is El Kilo Marisqueria, which has a great, entire fried fish dish, as well as delicious raw dishes. Even their “amuse bouche” is fresh and worth the trip. And the place has this cool “woody” look, spacious and modern, but – added bonus – it is much less expensive than the rest of the neighborhood around it.
El Kilo Marisqueria
In La Candelaria I like Madre, about a block away from my house. They play all kinds of good music, it has some cool neon signs – inside, not outside, the place is not easy to find – and serves the best pizza and drinks in Bogota. I have had my share of their gin tonics, which are amazing if you consider that the ingredients are the same everywhere: gin and tonic. I am not quite sure how they make them this good.
I don’t go to clubs much, with all the reggaetón going on. My personal favorite if I go out is Candelario, which plays Champeta, the African based Colombian-Caribbean music, at all hours. A good place to check out if you want to try something different.