Saturday, May 10, 2014

Seven Videos Of Afro-Colombian Music & Dance

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part II of a two part series of Afro-Colombian music and dance. This showcases seven Afro-Colombian music and dance videos.

Click for Part I of this series. Part I showcases a video of marimba music and information about performed by Afro-Colombians.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, cultural and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to those who are featured in these videos. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post as well as the publishers of these posts on YouTube.

"Afro-Colombians refers to Colombians of African ancestry, and the great impact they have had on Colombian culture. Notable Afro-Colombians include Colombian scientists like Raul Cuero, writers like Manuel Zapata Olivella and politicians: Piedad Córdoba, Paula Marcela Moreno Zapata, and Luis Gilberto Murillo, Miss Colombia 2001 winner and fashion model Vanessa Alexandra Mendoza Bustos, first Olympic gold medal winner for the country Maria Isabel Urrutia, and Major League Baseball player Edgar Rentería...

...In pre-abolition Colombian society, many Afro-Colombian slaves fought for their freedom as soon as they arrived in Colombia. It is clear that there were strong free Black African towns called palenques, where Africans could live as cimarrones, that is, they who escaped from their oppressors. Afro Panamanians are also related to Afro Colombians, some historians consider that Chocó was a very big palenque, with a large population of cimarrones, especially in the areas of the Baudó River. Very popular cimarrón leaders like Benkos Biojó and Barule fought for freedom. African people played key roles in the independence struggle against Spain. Historians note that three of every five soldiers in Simon Bolívar's army were African. Not only that, Afro-Colombians also participated at all levels of military and political life.

Slavery was not abolished until 1851, and even after emancipation, the life of the African Colombians was very difficult. African Colombians were forced to live in jungle areas as a mechanism of self-protection. There, they learned to have a harmonious relationship with the jungle environment and to share the territory with Colombia's indigenous"...

"It’s a huge challenge to find any substantial information about the history of the slave trade in Cartagena even though it’s estimated that one million Africans were forcibly brought to Cartagena during the slave trade. Along with Veracruz, Mexico, it was one of just two authorized slave ports in the Spanish New World. Essentially, the history of many people of African descent in Central and South America has roots in Cartagena...

After slavery was abolished in 1851, attempts were made to assimilate Africans and indigenous peoples into the mainstream Colombian society which was controlled by people of Spanish descent. Former slaves who wanted to maintain their traditions were compelled to retreat into remote jungles. The results of forced assimilation are apparent in both the lack of Afro-Colombian culture in Cartagena today and the isolation of Afro-Colombian culture in Colombia in general.

The African Origins of Cumbia Music
When I think about Colombia’s greatest export, ... I think about cumbia, a style of music I’ve danced to up and down the Americas, from Bolivia to Mexico to California.

Given the pervasiveness and popularity of cumbia across the Americas, it would be easy to think that it originated in Mexico or Argentina or somewhere else, but it’s actually from Colombia. Like many styles of music from Latin America, cumbia has mixed origins and influences, but it began with sounds and movements of West Africa. The rhythmic foundation and shuffling dance style are derived from rhythms and dance moves found in various parts of West Africa."...
For more information, read this section in Part I of this series and click

These videos are posted in chronological order based on their posting date with the oldest videos presented first.

Example #1: Colombia, Xiomara Afro-Colombian Dance Co., Cumbia, Currulao

Xiosa9 Uploaded on Jun 21, 2007

Xiomara Afro-Colombian Dance Company performed a Cumbia and a Currulao for the Ethnic Dance Festival auditions in San Francisco, California, in January 2007. Director/Choreographer/Dancer: Xiomara Salinas Dancers: Xiomara, Yenis, Katy, Majida, Edgar, Antoine, Takeo and Justin Musicians: Tambores De Colombia


tradicionyfuzzion, Uploaded on Sep 18, 2008


Example #3: Africa In The Americas_Colombian Series).mov

NEWLANDTV, Uploaded on Feb 1, 2011

In the 21 st century, where can you find An African-American community that speaks its own dialect, has its own social structure, follows its own medical and spiritual practices-and receives international recognition for doing so? Are you surprised to learn that it's in Colombia ? Maybe it's time you learned about the astonishing community of San Basilio Refuge, near Cartagena , Colombia .

Established as a walled community in the 1600s, today San Basilio Refuge is home to some 3,500 residents. When it was first established, San Basilio was not so different from the dozens of isolated communities founded by slaves escaping forced labor on Colombia 's ranches, sugar plantations, and gold mines. What is unusual, though, is that the San Basilio Refuge community has entered the 21 st century with so much of its cultural and linguistic heritage intact.

Find out how this community has maintained its identity, how Afro-Colombian music and cultural traditions have permeated Colombian society, and how UNESCO's special recognition hopes to help the residents of San Basilio Refuge resist the erosion of their unique cultural identity.

Example #4: Cantadoras del Pacífico, Colombian Currulao Music

SmithsonianFolklife, Uploaded on Jun 23, 2011

Colombian group, Cantadoras del Pacifico, performs at the 2009 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. [Catalog No. - CFV10203; Copyright - 2009 Smithsonian Institution]

Example #5: Chirimía La Contundencia, Music from Colombia's Pacific Coast

SmithsonianFolklife, Uploaded on Jul 8, 2011

Chirimía La Contundencia, one of Colombia's most renowned chirimía groups, presents their form of the traditional Pacifico genre to an audience eager to dance.

Videography by David Barnes, Andrea Curran, and Michael Headley. Video edited by Michael Headley. [Catalog No. - CFV10352; Copyright - 2011 Smithsonian Institution]

Example #6: Currulao-Colombia-Por Pareja.wmv

Carlos Alberto Londoño, Published on Apr 8, 2012

El currulao es es la supervivencia de la cultura danzaria Africana màs importante de la regiòn pacifico. Es una danza ritual de conquista amorosa, donde la mujer hace que el hombre le ruegue bastante, para hacectar la invitaciòn al baile. Su lenguaje corporal tiene mucha plasticidad y sierta ritualidad. Durante la danza los bailadores se persiguen acorralandose reciprocamente. Se dice que esta figura es la que origina su nombre. los zapateos del hombre en primera instancia son protesta, porque la dama se resiste a bailar con el, los segundos son manifestaciòn de alegria, porque forfin ella acecta la invitaciòn.
English translation from Google Translate (given with text that is not comprehensible in standard English(
"The currulao is is the survival of African dance company culture more important Pacific region. It is a ritual dance of amorous conquest, where the woman makes the man rather pray for hacectar invitation to the dance. His body language has a lot of plasticity and sierta ritual. During the dance the dancers pursued acorralandose reciprocally. It is said that this figure is the originating name. stomping of man in the first instance are protesting because the lady refuses to dance with the latter are manifestation of joy, because she acecta forfin invitation."

Example #7: Grupo Tamafri (Buenaventura) - Ganadores Marimba Petronio 2013

Gina Ruz, Published on Oct 4, 2013

Grupo Tamafri, de Buenaventura, ganador del primer lugar en la Categoría Marimba del XVII Festival Petronio Álvarez. La fiesta máxima de la música del Pacífico Colombiano se realizó en Cali del 18 al 22 de septiembre de 2013.

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