The eighth annual Colombian Music Festival will showcase four distinct styles of music from regions in Colombia, lasting from Saturday, October 22 to Sunday, October 23 in New York City.
The yearly Encuentro/Encounter of Colombian Musicians in Manhattan is the dream of Cali-born composer, pianist and bandleader Pablo Mayor and his wife Anna, a renowned flutist.
“Colombian music is difficult to characterize because it involves so many different styles and rhythms,” Anna explained to New York’s Daily News, naming four regions, each with their own sound: the Pacific coast, the Caribbean coast, the plains and the Andes mountains.
“The regions, due to geography, are very isolated in their traditions,” she said. “The Pacific coast has more African tradition, with a lot of drums, particularly drums that are only found there. In the Caribbean coast, you get more native flutes, congas and even the accordion. In the Andes, we find more Spanish and native music, while the plains feature the lively ‘cowboy’ music, influenced by nearby Venezuela.”
Both days will offer a taste of music from all four regions, although Pablo explained that Saturday’s music will focus on traditional styles, while contemporary beats can be heard on Sunday.
Highlights include the Caribbean band Grupe Rebolu, which features the ‘gaita’, a Colombian flute with a mouthpiece made of beeswax, duck feathers and charcoal, and Grupo Chonta, led by Colombian composer and arranger Obregon. Obregon is “probably the most knowledgeable person in New York about Pacific Coast style,” Pablo said.
Pablo’s own dance band Folklore Urbano Orchestra will also perform their latest music.
The festival includes question-and-answer sessions with musicians, workshops for children, dance activities, and an exhibition of Colombian instruments.
“We’ll end Sunday with a showcase jam session, with musicians from all the bands and both nights on stage, jamming together,” Anna said.