Colombia is exceptionaly rich and diverse naturally and musically. Just as La Sierra was declared the most important site on the planet for the production of biodiversity by UNSCO, Colombia's folkloric musical roots are similarly abundant and are deeply entwined with the development of Latin music and culture.
La Sierra is the worlds only coastal tropical snow glacial peak. It is the spiritual “Heart of the World” according to its indigenous inhabitants, the Kogi, Wiwa, Kankwarmo and Arhuaco people. The culture is guided by the Mamos, the spiritual leaders of this still intact Pre Columbian civilization. The mountain itself is the only place on earth with an example of every biome possible elsewhere on the planet, it is like the world in miniature. The result is that the depth of the Mamo’s natural and spiritual understandings are uniquely evolved and it is a great privilege to have this project guided by them.
Minca is a town in the foot hills of La Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. Known for its incredible natural biodiversity, it is one of the premiere birdwatching locations on the planet hosting more than 360 species with many endemic to here. The community in Minca is quite unique with a variety of hotels and hostels as well Minca has several different Yoga, meditation and wellness classes are available in this very spiritually connected community. To get to Minca is quite easy. Santa Marta is the nearest airport and taxis are available that go up to Minca from the terminal. For groups or musicians with instruments or equipment transportation can be easily arranged.
Nabusimake is the remote and difficult to reach capital of the Arhuaco community in La Sierra. It represents the story of a culture recuperating its spiritual and culture identity very successfully in spite of extreme hardship. With its traditions intact and guided as always by the Mamos, Nabusimake a very special place and Sonidoselva is very proud of its connection to this amazing community who have always helped us here in Minca to have a much richer understanding on the original peoples of La Sierra and the incredible traditions here. This year Sonidoselva with participation of the community in Nabusimake will create a mini festival of Chicote music, Chicote is traditional Arhuaco music from the mountain and is a boisterous mix of accordion, tambores and flutes unlike any other accordion tradition you have ever heard. It is an infectious and fun loving music that brings people together around fires throughout La Sierra and we're very happy to be able to present it to a broader public this year.
San Basilio de Palenque is free and has been for a long time. Since 1670 when their ancestors were able to break free of Spanish rule the community has proudly upheld its absolute connection to its African origins and they are in fact the first community of independent free Africans anywhere in the Western Hemisphere. Palenque is is one of Colombias most musically influential regions and its rhythms are the definition of powerful. San Basilio is famous for its music festival where the entire town comes alive with drums and dancing as the music tells ancient stories to the younger generations. UNESCO declared San Basilio de Palenque a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2005 and we're so proud to be a part of an extended family outside Palenque supporting this communities cultural and artistic efforts in order to help preserve Palenque's rich heritage far into the future.
Most don't know that above La Sierra is a vast desert stretching all the way to the northern most tip of South America. La Guajira is a wild and isolated place occupied by the Wayuu people but one drenched in beauty as wide panoramas of desert meet the warm waters of the Caribbean. Known for its incredible rock formations and sand dunes as well as world class kite surfing on the always windy bay of the beach town of Cabo Vela. While it does require a bit of effort to get there, La Guajira is a truly unique destination and is yet another example of the incredibly rich and varied natural ecosystems present all around La Sierra..
El Choco is on Colombia's Pacific coast and has huge amounts of annual rainfall as well as an incredible music tradition featuring huge marimbas played in large groups over loping Currulau and other local rhythms brought to El Choco from central Africa. Colombia is the only South American country to have coasts on both the pacific and Atlantic sides and this makes Choco completely distinct from the Atlantic side of the country both culturally and in terms of biodiversity. Though separated by mountain and jungle the traditions of El Choco are rich in their contributions to Colombian culture with UNSCO and the Colombian government both declaring the Chonta Marimba and its traditions as a living patrimony. Sonidoselva is in the process of initiaeting an exchange program with musicians from this region in order to lend support and awareness to this amazing culture and its music.
Los Llanos is a vast system of Savannah that stretches across eastern Colombia and into Venzuala. It is the largest savannah system in the world and the culture there has many unique customs and the music is a very unusual mix of instruments. Joropo, as the Colombian version of the music is called, features full size Harps, upright bass a small four string instrument called the Quattro with a pair of tiny maracas called Campachos all played with dizzying levels of musical skill and execution. Los Llanos is also home to a huge variety of wide animals including plethora of bird species, Jaguars, Giant Ant Eaters, Anacondas and Orinoco Caymans.