Songlines Music Traveller Gareth Richards recently returned from our first trip to Colombia. Here he shares a few of his favourite moments and photos
Colombia is a country with an amazingly vibrant and diverse music scene. And it was well worth going on this Songlines Music Travel trip. Some of my highlights include:
- A couple of introductions into Colombian music presented by Mario Galeano (Ondatropica, Cumbia Freinte) and Lucas Silva (Palenque Records).
- Showcase performances at the Bogotá Music Market (BoMM). Look out for Sango Groove and Canalón de Timbiquí.
- A morning in Medellín with salsa trumpeter Maite Hontelé, followed by a live show that evening featuring her band and Los Hacheros.
- A late night show by champeta star Charles King at the iconic Bazurto Social Club in Cartagena.
- A day at San Basilio de Palenque, founded by escaped slaves as a refuge in the 17th century and still a home of African culture with a remarkable music scene. We enjoyed musical performances by Rafael Cassiani (of Sexteto Tabala) and Justo Valdés (of Son Palenque), and young percussion/hip-hop outfit Kombilesa Mi. Lunch was accompanied by a huge ‘Pico’ sound system playing music by M’bilia Bel from Congo.
- Rootsy percussion and dance in one of Cartagena’s squares by Candela Viva.
We also found time to explore the cities. A real highlight was a visit to Comuna 13 in Medellín – until recently the frontline in drug and gang wars, but now transformed by the community and full of stunning street art and a sense of optimism. And with visits to the ‘La Candelaria’ district of Bogotá, a Cathedral in a salt mine at Zipaquirá and the ‘Aviario Nacional de Colombia’ outside Cartagena, there were plenty of opportunities to get to know other aspects of Colombia as well.
Well worth going! Click here to find out more about Songlines Music Travel.