After several beers, Cumbia Blazera decided to go to Colombia, the original home of cumbia. We all woke up hungover, but still thought it was a good idea - so, a few meetings and several more beers later, we started to make more plans.
Cumbia Blazera toured Colombia from April 14th to April 30th 2017. We visited three key cities: Bogota, Cartagena and Medellin, along with some smaller towns in between.
13 travellers, 10 performances in 3 Colombian cities, 8 plane rides, 1400 school-children (in Santa Marta), a few football games, 1 national television appearance and countless new friends and experiences later... it's nice to be back. Time for a cup of tea.
PLAZARTE - Artists Residence in Cultural Centre (Medellín)
Perhaps the biggest highlight of the tour was a week long residence in the Centro Culturale de Plazarte - https://www.facebook.com/plazarte.independiente/
Here we were lucky to find a thriving hub of culture and art that connected us straight to the artistic arteries of Medellín. Our residency took place during a week of activities, in which we met many local artists, musicians and activists.
Mirtha, Laura, Maria and the crew introduced us to the history of the city, and put us in touch with local musicians such as Afrokuisi: https://www.facebook.com/AFROKUISI/ - phenomenal musicians who showed us the true roots of cumbia. Purely acoustic, with kuisi (a very loud flute), djembes, other drums and voice, the energy was intense and the music hypnotic. We now understand why at our NZ gigs, South Americans tell us we play 'Argentinian Cumbia'! It is certainly a different beast from After our own concert, we danced with Afro Kuisi until the sun came up and the bus for Santa Marta arrived to take us away.
When we think of Colombia, we think of the people we met - especially the crew at Plazarte. Saludos y abrazos, amigos. Ojalá que nos encontrarémos de nuevo en el futuro.
With 15 in the squad, who knows who is writing these updates.