Morales is a 96 year old accordionist whose most famous songs include “El Errante” and “Primavera Florecida”. Speaking at the event, which he attended with his partner of 60 years, Ana Romero, Morales said, “I feel happy, calm, provided that this lady is with me, she is my rudder [that drives me].”
Leandro Diaz, a singer who wrote the song “La Muerte de Moralito”, upon being wrongly informed that his friend Morales had died, was also recognized at the event.
Diaz and Morales were reported to have been “very pleased and grateful” to be honored by the festival.
The Festival de la Leyenda Vallenata began on Tuesday in the northeastern department of Cesar and is set to run for five days. According to the event’s founders, it is a festival to celebrate “the region’s folklore and restore the magic of a land where myth, tradition and the richness of language come together to create literature and music.”
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos is due to attend the festival Tuesday evening.