Being in Colombia during any of the “puente” (3 day) weekends or during “dias festivos” (the holidays) is a real treat. I was reminded of how relaxing an evening stroll through the Florida neighborhood can be with vendors sweeping up/dancing to the overwhelmingly positive melodies of Vallenato, the official music of Colombia after Salsa.
Hailing from the Caribbean coastal region, Vallenato originated from troubadours wandering the countryside with flutes, guacharaca, caja and accordion. The singing is always very emotional and sometimes the singer goes out of tune intentionally to show how emotionally invested he is in the song. Vallenato contains four beats or “airs” that affect a song’s ryhtym: son, paseo, merengue, and puya.
One can find many vallenato troubadours walking around the Estadio neighborhood of Medellín, looking to be hired out by folks in the nearby outdoor bars or sometimes just looking for a shot of guaro and a jam session with their fellow trovadores.