Saturday, 23 February 2013

Cartagena de Indias

I got sent to Cartagena by work to take part in the Cartagena de Indias International Film Festival. I don't mean to make it sound too involuntary... there are some upsides to this job! I was last here in 1996, and in the intervening years, two things have happened: (1) the locals have scrubbed the historic city centre up enormously, and (2) I had forgotten just how astonishingly beautiful this city is. It seems so appropriate for a film festival to take place here, for the whole walled city looks like the back drop to Pirates of the Caribbean. It's late now, so I'm going to leave you with a few quick pics of the place, and an invitation to visit my Justgiving page in order to help me raise the funds to come back here as soon as possible.

This (above) was the showing of a number of short films, including the hilarious Colombian short Rodri which seemed to be an audience favourite after its participation in Cannes last year.

The "Cinema Under the Stars" series finished off the Saturday night with a presentation of the Italian Vittorio di Sico's "Umberto D".


Round the corner from the hotel at midnight.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

La Mambanegra

Here's a contemporary salsa track that is an instant classic. The video was only recently released, and it is a riot. The characters are taken from the history of Cali and its festivals, but if you want more details on that you're going to have to ask someone who knows something about the city... These guys, La Mambanegra, deliver a sledgehammer blast of salsa that I had the pleasure of seeing live in Circulart in Medellin last year, like some of the other music I've mentioned on here before. Since then I've been desperately searching to find more evidence of them online, but this video just surfaced recently. The singer, Jacobo Velez (link is to a Google translation of a news article on him and this new project), was the founder of contemporary legends "La Mojarra Electrica", although he left recently to focus on this new group. Here they are with "La Compostura" - it's a cliche, but turn it up!

Here's a quick introduction to La Mojarra Electrica in English with subtitles for the interviews.

And here's the last little bit of Mambanegra I can find online, an Electronic Press Kit video on Vimeo:

Let me know what you think... or even better, let them know what you think. La Mambanegra on Twitter.