Thursday, March 7, 2013

Live(ly) Colombian Music

It seems a little ridiculous to be posting about something that happened over two months ago, but I really want to share this.

Since we had only a few members of our Colombian family at our wedding, the rest that couldn't come to the wedding wanted to throw a party in our honor when we went down for Christmas. They bought us presents that symbolized Colombian culture like straw hats, coffee cups, a hammock with the colors of the Colombian flag, and other art work.

The best present of all was the experience of live music. First, my brother and sister-in-law hired a band to come play música llanera for us. My husband and I were brought to tears because we were so touched. The band came with a singer who is a master of improvisation. He asked a few questions about the crowd beforehand and based off of that and in addition to what he saw, he would sing us a story off the cuff. Of course, everyone got a big kick out of it.

Not only we did we have live music, but my in-laws hired dancers as well. It was really something, and like good Latinos, people started dancing. It was such a fun dance and really easy to pick up. I love how my husband says he can't dance, but when really he can. It's in the blood. (A "bad" Colombian dancer is "good" in my book.)

Música llanera comes from the llanos, which is a large grassland that is shared by western Colombia and eastern Venezuela. The typical musical instruments are maracas, a harp, and a guitar, and the dance is called a joropo. Check out of the video below!

After the band played their last song, we enjoyed the pool for a few hours. Once night fell, another band came to play for us! They were not going to leave out vallenato! We put on our sombreros volteaos, and the party continued. 

Vallenato is from the Caribbean coast. My favorite vallenato singer is Carlos Vives. I just love dancing to his songs. The musical instruments are a caja, guacharca. and an accordion. Since the singers were costenos, or people from the coast, they also brought the mask of a maimondes, a character from the Barranquilla Carnaval festival.

caja, guacharca, and an accordion

I tried to capture everything on film so I could share it with others who might not know about this great music. 

Wearing the maimondes mask

Even after the vallenato band left, we were still people lingering around. When I heard salsa, I just had to dance. Colombians are also known for being great salsa dancers especially the ones from Cali, which is the World's Salsa Capital.

If you ever go to Colombia, bring your dancing shoes.