Odyssey of Vallenato music

Colombian fervour

Odyssey of Vallenato music

Festooned with sombreros (cowboy hats), the Siri Fort auditorium seemed perfectly decked up for an evening of Colombian music set to the tunes of an accordion. To relay the story of Vallenato music, film director Rey Sagbini and legendary accordionist, Alvaro Meza, also known as the Vallenato king, were recently in the Capital for a two-day long Colombian festival. Catching up on the musical odyssey on its second day, Metrolife donned a sombrero to join in the gaiety and the foot-tapping fervour of Colombian music  at the festival.  

The second day unveiled an extravaganza of Vallenato music by accordionist Alvaro Meza. Vallenato is a popular folk music, a combination of Colombian and Afro-European rhythms that emanates from the Caribbean villages of Valledupar in Colombia, the South American nation. It has four basic rhythms---paseo, son, meringue and puya---informed Rey, the director. He revealed that according to a legend, “Born in the province of Valledupar, this music was a medium of communication, a way of sending messages when people used to travel on animals from one village to another.” 
Coupling his music with elaborate interpretations, Alvaro held audience attention throughout the evening. In his opening address, he said, “It has been an honour for this humble king of Vallenato to bring our culture, our idiosyncrasies through the language of music to India.”

Rey emphasises that, “On rhythms like puya and meringue, you just can’t stop yourself from dancing. But son and paseo are designed for listening only.”  
 Oscillating back and forth into the history of Vallenato music, Rey painted a vivid picture of the festival accompanied with Alvaro’s mellifluous presentations of all the four rhythms of the music. 

He says that during Vallenato Legend Festival, almost 20 groups perform at the same time in different parts of Valledupar. “Earlier this music was usually played in open spaces, in the patios of Colombian households and under the mango trees.”

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