This Pick of the Week celebrates the afro-descent heritage present in various musical expressions of Latin American countries. This heritage, many times overlooked, is the result of the transatlantic slavery trades that started in the 16th century. This edition focuses on the Afro-Colombian music heritage with rhythms including bullerengue, tambora, mapale, porro, chande, among others performed by the New York-based group called Grupo Rebolú. We hope that this edition sparks your curiosity and inspires you to learn more about afro-descent heritage music in Latin America.
The New-York based, Afro-Colombian musical ensemble Grupo Rebolú promotes the rich musical traditions of the African descendants of Colombia's Caribbean coast. Ronald Polo, the founder, vocalist, composer, and player of the gaita, a native Colombian flute, believes these folkloric traditions should continually evolve and incorporate the ideas and creativity of new generations of musicians. The original compositions of Ronald Polo, written for Grupo Rebolú, forge new paths for Colombian music while respectfully remaining faithful to traditional Afro-Colombian rhythms such as gaita, tambora, chalupa, and bullerengue.
Founding members of the Afro-Colombian ensemble, Grupo Rebolú, Ronald Polo (vocalist, composer, and player of the gaita native Colombian flute), Morris Cañate (traditional drummer), and Johanna Castañeda (vocalist and percussionist) discuss musical expressions of their Afro-Cuban heritage with ethnomusicologist Dan Sheehy.
The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society.