Aterciopelados (English: The Velvety), also referred to as Los Aterciopelados on some albums and other promotional materials, are a rock band from Colombia. Led by Andrea Echeverri and Héctor Buitrago, they have been one of the first rock bands from Colombia to gain international notice and they are among the country's top groups. Their music fuses rock with a variety of Colombian and Latin American musical traditions. 'Time magazine has written, "Aterciopelados's true skill lies in its ability to take north-of-the-border musical styles…and breathe new life into them, all while giving them a distinctly Colombian sheen." Additionally, Aterciopelados engages audiences all over the world with their socially conscious message. Honored by the United Nations for their work denouncing violence in Colombia, Aterciopelados speaks out about myriad issues including political injustice, women's rights, and environmental destruction. The group has also received numerous awards, such as the Latin Grammy Award for Best Alternative Album in 2007, for Oye (Nacional Records).In October 2008, Aterciopelados released a new studio album, Rio, on Nacional Records. The album received rave reviews from publications like Rolling Stone, the Washington Post, Billboard, and from NPR's "All Things Considered." As Vibe Magazine said, "For Aterciopelados, maturity has become a form of liberation." The group toured United States in April 2009 to support Rio.Referendum for Water in ColombiaAterciopelados’ album Rio, released October 21, 2008, coincides with a proposed Colombian constitutional referendum that declares that access to water is a fundamental right for all Colombians and provides for maintenance and preservation rights. "When I was growing up, the Bogotá River was considered a mythic and iconic place, and now it's a tiny stream," says Echeverri. With Rio, Aterciopelados takes an increasingly forceful stand on the environment. Buitrago notes, "While on previous albums, we may have simply declared many of the world's problems, we now strive to work in a more active way. In this case, it is with the recovery of Bogotá's river, as it is one of the most polluted rivers in the world."Echeverri sings that, "The waters of the river come running, singing / They go through the city dreaming to be clean, to be clear." This theme is carried throughout the album. In the song 'Aguita' (‘Water’), Echeverri sings that "the water belongs to everyone / Not to the highest bidder." In August, the band promoted awareness of the issue by traveling down the Bogotá River gathering signatures for the referendum. By September 15, over two million signatures had been collected, propelling the referendum to its next phase of the lengthy process.Amnesty InternationalAterciopelados have teamed up with Amnesty International and Link TV for a human rights project featuring a re-worked version of "Cancion Protesta," the hit single from their 2006 album, Oye. The song and music video will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was re-written to address issues of human rights and is now titled "The Price of Silence." The video will take place in the United Nations General Assembly (the United Nations has granted unprecedented access to the General Assembly for this project). Other artists involved include Stephen Marley (Jamaica), Gilberto Gil (Brazil), Angélique Kidjo (Benin), Yerba Buena (PanLatin), Julieta Venegas (Mexico), Emmanuel Jal (Sudan), Hugh Masekela (South Africa) and Rachid Taha (France/Algeria).Destierro y ReparaciónIn Colombia, Aterciopelados is involved with the Destierro y Reparacion (Displacement and Reparations) project, which addresses the issue of displacement of native peoples — a huge issue in Colombia as well as many parts of the world. Promoted by the Museum of Antioquía, its goal is to generate social conscience concerning the dimension and implications of the forced displacement phenomenon as a reality affecting everyone and weakening social stability. Additionally, the project aims to identify possible methods and forms of reparation that would insure the application of fundamental rights that would include the recuperation of the culture of the affected communities. The project features discussions, workshops, exhibits and concerts and includes the participation of more than 20 institutions. Aterciopelados contributed the song "Errante Diamante" (Wandering Diamond) in support of the project.RecognitionsIn 1997 and 1998, they received Grammy nominations.Aterciopelados won a Latin Grammy award in 2001 following the release of their album Gozo Poderoso for Best Rock Group.In 2001, Aterciopelados was recognized by the writers of Time magazine as one of the top 10 contemporary global bands (those bands located outside of the United States.) The list included U2 and the Rolling Stones.In 2007 they won the Latin Grammy award for Best Alternative Album for Oye. They had received two Latin Grammy nominations that year, including Best Alternative Album for Oye (Nacional Records) and Best Alternative Song for the single "Complemento." Oye also won the group a Premio Lo Nuestro award in 2008 for Album of the Year.