On Friday, October 16, Flushing Town Hall presented Cowboys & Coasts: The Music of Colombia, a double headliner featuring Grupo Rebolú and Cimarrón.
Grupo Rebolú performed traditional Afro-Colombian folk music rich in energy, history and danceability; and, Cimarrón performed the festive joropo, in a breathtaking program combining Andalusian, Indigenous Indian and African roots, with harp, bandola, cuatro, bass, cajon, maracas and high-pitched voices.
Grupo Rebolú is an Afro-Colombian musical ensemble comprised of some of the finest Colombian musicians in the United States. The group – whose members live in Queens – was created from the desire of Ronald Polo (vocalist/composer/gaitero) and Morris Cañate (master folkloric percussionist) to promote the rich musical traditions of their ancestors. Grupo Rebolú’s unique reinterpretations of traditional Afro-Colombian rhythms highlight gaita, tambora, chalupa, and bullerengue, among others.
Grammy-nominated and internationally acclaimed Colombian ensemble Cimarrón is the foremost interpreter of joropo, traditional music and dance from the region of the Eastern Plains of Colombia. Cimarrón, led by harpist Carlos Rojas, explores and experiments with the rich heritage of the plains music, preserving the essence of tradition.
Their album, Sí, soy llanero, recorded for Folkways Records, was nominated for a Grammy in 2005 in the category Best Traditional World Music Album, and their performance in the Fair WOMEX Music in 2008 generated praise from international critics. Their latest album, Cimarrón! Joropo Music from the Plains of Colombia, won the category of Best Latin Album at the 2012 American Independent Music Awards.
Culiminating the event was a “jam” session with both groups performing together – for the first time – on stage.