Thursday, 28 October 2010

Film: The accordion Kings


The documentary Accordion Kings produced by the Smithsonian Latino Center was screened on June 6th at the National Museum of Natural History. During that night, the National Museum became the scene of the Colombian folklore. It was transformed into the beautiful Colombian region of Valledupar, where the vallenato, one of the most distinctive genres of Colombian music, was born. The Baird auditorium hosted over 600 people who enjoyed the happiness, traditions, histories and rhythms of Colombia. 
The premiere of the documentary The Accordion Kings: the Story of Colombian Vallenato Music, was a great success. The film brought all the meaning and beauty of the soulful music of the Caribbean coast of Colombia through legends, customs, testimonies of artists and distinctive songs. The video was produced by the Smithsonian Latino Center and the Smithsonian Chanel and its production began two years ago. 
Following the presentation, there was a session of Q&A and then the stage was set for a beautiful vallenato concert which transformed into a party (or parranda). All the applauses were for the artists, Pangue Maestre, crowned as the King of the Vallenato Festival in 1984, in the accordion; the voice and guacharaca were by Ivo Diaz, son of recognized singer-songwriter and accordion player, Leandro Diaz; and Daniel Castilla was responsible for the caja.
Among the guests were Gabriela Febres Cordero, Julio Cesar Aldana, Santiago Pastrana and Cristian Samper. The songs included classics like Matilde Lina and Este Pedazo de Acordeon.

For the Embassy of Colombia, this type of events, developed together with the Smithsonian Institution, are ideal places to promote the cultural wealth and diversity of our country, which has its expression in unique and ancient traditions such as vallenato.

This film documents the legendary six-day music festival that takes place once every 10 years in the Caribbean coastal market town of Valledupar and focuses on the fierce competition among Colombias top accordion virtuosos for the undisputed Accordion King title and crown.

Música vallenata, music from a small valley region of northeastern Colombia enjoys international popularity. Yet, the lives of many of its finest living practitioners are rooted firmly in their regional way of life, performing a repertoire of landmark compositions, delivered in their own signature style. Here Ivo Díaz's prodigious voice interprets his father Leandro's famous paseo.

Blind composer Leandro Díaz wrote this piece when he fell in love with a woman named Matilde Lina, who sat next to him on a town plaza bench one Sunday. Leandro commented that the love faded, but the song stayed. It was filmed during recording sessions with Smithsonian Folkways in Valledupar, Cesar, Colombia for ¡Ayombe!: The Heart of Colombia's Música Vallenata.

Ayombe! The Heart of Colombia's Música Vallenata

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