Porro is the name given to a musical genre and its accompanying dance, which developed on the Colombian Caribbean coast.
Experts are undecided as to whether it grew from indigenous pre-Colombian tradition, or whether it was imported to the Caribbean coast by African slaves. The elevated pitch of clarinets and saxhorns blends with the lower thudding of base drums to give the music a lively, merry rhythm. Its dancers follow its beat, twisting and spinning rapidly in routines resembling salsa moves.
The event opened at 9AM Friday with a tribute to deceased Porro maestro Carlos Piña. San Pelayo will awake at 4AM Saturday to a traditional “alborada”, in which the Porro bands will march through the town’s streets dancing and playing their instruments.
The festival will comprise a series of concerts, as well as music and dance competitions. The event runs until Monday July 19, when the festival culminates in a prize-giving ceremony, in which successful artists will be rewarded.