Any Excuse to Celebrate!

It doesn’t matter if they’re rockers, punks, or salseros -- blast a vallenato number at a party and the Colombians in the room automatically converge on the dance floor. They soar gracefully, their arms outstretched like eagles as they wind their way among other dancers. Does this nationality have closer links than most to our feathered friends? Naaah, they’re just more in touch with their inner folklorists. See, back in the old days, women would hold their broad peasant skirts out as they danced around the men, who in turn spun circles ’round the women while holding sombreros in their outstretched hands. Movement aside, one of the most beautiful parts of this old-fashioned ritual is the serenity that emanates from the dancers’ faces. This year, with a recent release of hostages in the conflict-laden mountains of their homeland, Colombians will be flashing smiles that should reach epic proportions.

Miami might not hold quite the same mysticism as Valledupar, the Caribbean town that hosts the yearly Festival of the Vallenato Legend, but you can still celebrate the homecoming with an all-star cast at the Festival Vallenato at Bayfront Park. Artists include Jorge Celedon, Binomino de Oro, Silvestre Dangond, Felipe Pelaez, Daniel Celedon, Otto Serge, Peter Manjarrez, Nelson Velasquez, and Ivan Villazon. Visit www.bayfrontparkmiami.com or www.congodeoro.com for show details.
Sun., Feb. 17, 2008
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Julienne Gage is a Miami-based anthropologist and journalist who has worked as a reporter and as a civil rights and international aid communications specialist in the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe. Her fieldwork has exposed her to many forms of cultural expression, and during her master’s in anthropology, she studied at Cuba’s Center for the Investigation and Development of Cuban Music.
Contact: Julienne Gage