The “Francisco el Hombre” (Franscisco the Man) Festival is a celebration of the legend of vallenato, the popular folk music native to Colombia’s Caribbean coast.
As legend has it, Francisco el Hombre — so-called because he defeated the devil in a duel of songs and nobody recalled his true name — wandered the Guajira peninsula for 200 years relating tales of the land accompanied by his trusty accordion given to him by Sir Walter Raleigh. However tall the tale of the vallenato hero, he was indeed a real man, whose vagrant lifestyle and womanizing ways left him with a abundance of offspring, who will be attending the vallenato festival to take place in late March.
The coastal city of Riohacha in the Guajira peninsula will be the site of the three-day festival celebrating contemporary vallenato. Modern-day vallenato comes from the tradition of Spanish minstrels and the African griots who wandered the Caribbean coast with their cattle, telling the news of the region through song. The instruments which characterize its sound are the accordion, the “caja” (a box drum), and the “guacharaca” (a wooden, ribbed stick) which is rubbed with a fork to produce a scraping sound. Over the course of the festival there will be four main competitions for the best accordion player, best singer, best original song and the best group.
The Francisco el Hombre Festival will also be the much anticipated finale to the reality show “The Search for Franscisco the Man” in which the hosts traversed Colombia in search of the twelve best young vallenato talents or groups. The finalists will compete during the festival to discover the next young vallenato star.
The festival will take place March 18, 19 and 20 in Riohacha, La Guajira.