Andrea Jaramillo Char was crowned queen of Colombia’s Barranquilla Carnaval Friday, a celebration of cultural heritage on the Carribean coast.
This year’s “Malkia Tambo”, or “Queen of the drum”, was presented to a crowd of 8,000 elated spectators in the Romelio Martínez stadium in Barranquilla, Atlantico department.
Barranquilla Carnaval is Colombia’s largest street festival, one of the oldest carnivals in the world which has earned a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Four days of riotous parties and dance displays start Saturday — read about the full schedule here.
As her title suggests, the night was defined by music, provided by Grammy award-winning Colombian artist Carlos Vives, and dance choreographed by Monica Lindo.
At times the applause was deafening as a group of 400 dancers took to the stage, performing complex moves to music inspired by salsa, merengue, reggaeton, cumbia and local “trienia”, a mix of African, indigenous and Spanish rhythms.
Carlos Vives’ music provided the emotional tone, performing favorites such as “El amor de mi tierra” and “El cante”. Towards the end of his set, Vives addressed the crowd saying “Thank you Barranquilla for allowing me to be a part of this.”
But the night belonged to the people’s queen, who took to the stage in order to prove her dancing skills. At one moment she was close to being overwhelmed by the emotion of night, even shedding a tear or two.