Afro-Colombian
CULTURAL Association

Performance - Workshop.

ABOUT

1. Introduction

My name is Dayan and honestly, music was not part of my life plans. I began my music studies purely by happenchance. Despite that, I have been playing and teaching Afro-Colombian music and dance for more than 20 years, and I have to say, it has been one of the most exciting experiences of my life.

I am a proud member of a small group of women who play Afro-Colombian percussion. I started playing this style when was 12 years old, during that time, women could only participate in Afro-Colombian music as singers or dancers, as playing percussion was culturally seen as a man’s domain. This stereotype has been changing gradually where nowadays, we see many women playing percussion in Colombian festivals despite still being outnumbered by men.

2. The aims of the AC-Cultural organisation are the following

Enrich general cultural knowledge
Foster Spanish language learning in Australia as one of the most spoken languages in Latin America and the world.
Create connections and support between Colombian and Australian artists.
Creation of partnerships with community centres and schools providing workshops and cultural interchange.
Develop exciting performances, gigs and development of artistic events.

3. Afro-Colombian culture

The XV century marked an incredible change in Colombian history; the age of colonisation. During that time, the Spanish crown brought thousands of slaves from different parts of the world, predominantly Africa, populating the north and west coasts of the territory.
The scourge of slavery and forced colonisation were some of the most terrible events faced by the “Nueva Granada” (Colombia’s previous name). However, these 350 years of suffering brought unimaginable changes to Colombian culture. New language, costumes, rites, food, music and dance impacted the north coast tremendously and spread out gradually through the rest of the territory. All these changes helped form the cultural heritage of the nation.

Taller

Some of my workshops are:

Ritmos

Some of the different rhythms played during the workshops are

Cumbia

Cumbia

This is one of the most representative rhythms of Afro-Colombian music in festivals and events. This rhythm is for couples dancing. The long dress that women wear during the performance has a Spanish influence, where the Spanish dressed up their slaves for festivals or special occasions.

Chandé

Chandé

This is the base rhythm of one of the most important dances played during the ‘Barranquilla Carnaval’ in Colombia. The Garabato dance choreographs a confrontation between life and death. This rhythm inspires happiness and joy.

Mapale

Mapale

This rhythm is one of the most representative of the African influence in Colombian culture. This rhythm’s beat is strong and fast. Dancers jump and fall on the floor with their hands raised, with a constant shake of shoulders and hips following the percussion beats.

Bullerengue

Bullerengue

During the execution of this rhythm, women dance in circles around the main tambor. Although this rhythm was initially sung and danced by women, nowadays, it is open to everyone.

Chalupa

Chalupa

While Bullerengue is used to express sadness and emotions, Chalupa is used to express happiness and celebration. Most noticeably played in the Palenque culture, where a strong African influence permeates.