THE PAPI CHULO STORY
Mariano Franco aka Papi Chulo, was born a punk rocker. Self-taught and an adherent of the DIY philosophy, Franco has always self-produced and performed the music that comes from his heart. From his musical beginnings with a hardcore band in his native Mexico, to his latest electro-tropical project Papi Chulo & su Grupo Invisible, Franco has always been on the fringes of the music scene, experimenting and mixing sounds and musical styles with simplicity and enthusiasm.
Arriving in Montreal in the mid-’90s, Franco pursued his artistic passions, enrolling in film production at Concordia University and cofounding Mi Santa Sangre, the first Latino hardcore band in Canada, releasing a self-titled album and touring Quebec and Mexico for a couple of years, until the day when an experience with magic mushrooms put him on a new musical path.
Possessed by the spirits of tropical rhythms, Franco set himself on a new course of experimentation with the acclaimed Psychotropical Orchestra, a big band that served a mix of Latin rhythms, reggae and rock, releasing two albums and touring Quebec, Canada, and Mexico, playing at prestigious festivals such as the Montreal Jazz Fest, and sharing the stage with legendary Latino acts like Nortec, Bomba Estereo, Kumbia Queers, Los de Abajo, Juana Fé, and Chico Trujillo.
Catching the electro-cumbia wave well ahead of most, Franco introduced it into the Psychotropical sound, and later dove in head first with Sonido Nordico, a DJ crew which introduced cutting-edge acts on the electronic Latino scene to Montrealers, sharing the stage with Chancha via Circuito, Fauna, Monareta, and Sonido Changorama, among others.
In 2009, Psychotropical Orchestra imploded and Franco started a journey of artistic revival, writing and directing various documentaries, short films, and music videos, composing music for TV, film, video installations and theatre, and producing the subversive toy-art installation Pandemonium at Montreal’s Espacio Mexico. His persistent musical explorations finally gave birth, in 2017, to a new music project, Papi Chulo & su Grupo Invisible, releasing a first selfproduced album La Tierra Prometida. It was an eclectic mix of electro-cumbia, new wave, and funk that allowed him to get back to the stage of numerous clubs and festivals in Montreal and Toronto.
In 2019, Franco started the production of his newest album, Ritmo de lo Habitual, which was originally set to be released in May 2020, but had to be postponed due to the pandemic. This pause allowed Franco to rethink and re-arrange the album, counting on the collaboration of renowned local and international musicians such as Etienne Lebele, Omar Diaz Herrera, Fernando Pinzon, Ultra K, Stéphanie Osorio, and Nagano Morro.
A luscious mix of electro-funk with mambo, cumbia, and champeta, the raw, sweaty tropi-punk of Ritmo de lo Habitual will possess your body and soul in the most intimate ways.