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Arts & Culture

Cumbia: Back To Its Roots At The Guadalupe

This Sunday, the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center presents the Cumbia Roots Festival

Miami-born, Colombia-raised Kiko Villamizar is the event's producer. It's pretty obvious that Villamizar knows his way around Cumbia music's historical roots.

"The African drums via slavery reach the Caribbean and Colombia, and mixes with the indigenous flutes . There was a rhythm called cumbe in West Africa.

Cumbia was a music borne out of the slave trade, and European colonization of South American and Caribbean peoples.

"Cumbia is a rhythmic pattern. Also, it's the oldest collaboration of red and black folks resisting colonization. It's a music, but it's also a story of the struggle of these two cultures together.

Like most culture, Cumbia didn't stay static.

"As Cumbia made its way toward an orchestra in the 40's in Colombia, mostly by this man named Lucho Bermudez  who was let's say the Benny Goodman of Colombia.


On Sunday, Villamizar is bringing it all to the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center as a Cumbia Roots Festival. It starts at noon with a workshop detailing the music genre's musical roots. At 2 o'clock, Villamizar will begin the performance  section, performing with his group.

"And then after me will be Trapiche de Colomboy A group that has won every festival in every category. This year they're the National Champions at the Cumbia Festival in Colombia.

After they play is Paito y los Gaiteros de Punta Brava . And Paito is the teacher of the leader of that band."

What Villamizar describes here is almost a musical apprenticeship in Cumbia music.

"Trapiche de Colomboy--they are my teachers, they are my elders. And then after him is his elder (Paito)."

Sunday's performance may end up as informative as entertaining.

"The Cumbia is like our Reggae--it's just the basis for pop music now."

Find more on the Cumbia Roots Festival here