During our first mission at the Afro-Colombian communities at Naya and Mayorquín rivers (Buenaventura) with APS team, my college Laura Sancho and myself had the opportunity to enjoy a life concert of currulao music performed by women and men from the communities with which APS is working. With this post I try to highlight the capacities of the members of the communities of those river and not just their vulnerabilities and fears.
This is one of the most African influenced-styles in all of Colombia, and has its roots among the Afro-Colombian/African-descendant/Black people of the Pacific coast.
In its most basic form, the currulao is played by a group of four musicians made by men and women.
One musician plays a 6-8 rhythm on a drum known as a «cununo», which superficially resembles the «alegre» drum (used in Cumbia) to the untrained eye, but is narrower and taller. The Currulao rhythm is created by both striking the skin of the drum with the one’s hand and tapping the side of the drum with a small stick.
The second musician keeps time on a shaker known in parts of Colombia as a «guasá» or «guache»
, which is typically a hollow cylinder made of metal, wooden, or guadua bamboo, filled with light seeds, rice is sometimes used in home-made guasás.
In 2010, Currulao has been added to the UNESCO list of Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
Written by Carmen Miguel Juan