For those of you with a short attention span, the summary is this:
If you (or a friend) is at the SXSW festival in Austin, go see Grupo Canalon de Timbiqui!
We already told you once before about Nidia Gongora and her Grupo Canalon de Timbiqui. This is the Colombian group I am most excited about today. One of the highlights of my trip to Colombia last month was the opportunity to spend a couple of nights with Nidia, el Grupo Canalón, and their Timbiquí family.
Happy times! Canalón got invited to play at SXSW (South By Southwest), one of the most important music festivals in the US. This is their first time abroad, and they were all in Bogotá applying for their visas. The community of timbiquireño expats hosted Nidia and her group at their home to celebrate the occasion.
The song is “Me voy ahogando” (I’m drowning) – one of many songs and stories about the Río Timbiquí. In these times of shrinking distances and frequent (and sometimes forced) migrations, so many of us are found longing for the times, places, and stories that define “who we are”. They are no different, and I assure you that the Río Bogotá just won’t do…
(Speaking of that: Amparo works in the neighborhood, el Barrio San Cristobal de Bogota, which is the home to a large Afro-Colombian community – many of whom have been displaced to the city due to the ongoing conflict in the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. She works with them to help keep their social and cultural traditions alive. She is raising funds to buy traditional musical instruments, clothing, history and literature books, etc. for the “Escuela de Formación Cultural Afro”. If you are interested in supporting her work, drop me an email or leave a comment below, and I’ll be very happy to put you in touch with her.)
I had the chance to visit Nidia’s home in Cali a few days later and meet her wonderful family. Before I finished each can of Poker, her husband Jorge had the next one open for me. I never heard “Un canto a mi tierra” – her love poem to Timbiquí in collaboration with Quantic and his Combo Bárbaro – sound better than that night, a-cappella between her and her 8? year old son Jorge Andrés. And wait for it, Fiorita has a voice!
Nidia is a wonderfully talented musician, an amazing story-teller, a gracious host, and a proud ambassador of the music of the Pacific Coast of Colombia. (She tells me she makes a mean sudado de piangua also – so bummed to have missed that.) I don’t exaggerate: her group is magical to listen to. If you happen to be in Austin for SXSW (or if you are thinking about making the trip), please don’t miss this rare opportunity to see them!
Much love and respect,