Saturday, 10 May 2014

Carranga time

We came up north to Tunja this morning, to celebrate Colombia's Mothers' Day with mother-in-law Nydia. More or less as soon as we got here, we headed off to Sáchica for a lunch of fried chicken, fried yuca, fried plantain and boiled potatoes. With spicy sauce (that's where they hide the vegetables - a teaspoon of chopped tomatoes and onions, mixed with vinegar and a bucket of chilli peppers). I had the vegetarian option - a fried egg. We then landed in Raquira, the multi-coloured home of Boyaca's handicraft industry. The streets are lined with shops selling mostly exactly the same things: earthenware pottery, hanging mobiles, wool knits, hammocks etc. Raquira is also famous, at a national level, for being home to carranga, a "traditional" music that bizarrely evolved a mere 40 years ago. The prime exponent of the genre is the fabulously grumpy, qualified vetinary surgeon, Jorge Velosa. We've seen him in concert many a time, indeed, I've danced drunkenly round the Plaza de Bolívar in Tunja with my mother-in-law Nydia to Jorge Velosa in the Christmas concerts. Today, in Raquira (his home town), we didn't meet him, but we did stumble across a crew from Radiolem, an archival project dedicated to documenting the musical heritage of the country. They were busy recording a group of carrangueros, five 'campesinos' who were playing for the archive in Raquira's central square. The sound isn't great on the video, but it'll give you a flavour of the chance encounter.

And for a bit more context, here's a ropey video of Jorge Velosa:

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