Petronio Alvarez, a festival of delights!

In August a group of EU AID volunteers in Colombia traveled to Cali to attend the Petronio Álvarez, a festival dedicated to the Colombian folklore music from the Pacific. We wanted to discover this festivity that is well known for its good atmosphere. The festival intends to dignify the values of this old culture and seeks to highlight composers, bands and researchers of Afro-Colombian music.

The festival was first celebrated in 1997 in honor of the musician from Buenaventura, Patrick Romano Petronio Álvarez Quintero (1914-1966), one of the major drivers of the Pacific folklore. In its early times it was held in the city of Buenaventura and a few years later it was transferred to the city of Cali. It is organized by local institutions related to culture and promoted by the department of Culture and Tourism of the Municipality of Santiago de Cali. In fact, nowadays Petronio Alvarez is one of the biggest afro festivals all over the world.

Among the musical modalities of the festival are the marimba, chirimía, free style, new song, vocal interpreter, clarinet interpreter or violin interpreter. Petronio Álvarez is an explosion of amazing music, traditional dances and flashy colors marked by the cununos chords, drums and other instruments from the Pacific folklore.

Definitely, it was a great experience; we danced to Pacific’s tune along with hundreds of people from the region and from other parts of the country. In addition, we could eat with relish the local cuisine (sancocho de pescado and empanadas de camarón are delicious!), and enjoyed greatly the traditional drinks such as biche or arrechón. Last but not least, we also appreciated the crafts form the entire line of the Pacific coast. Petronio Alvarez is a very cool festival, totally recommended, so, take note!

Written by Laura Sancho Torné
Image from El embajador (Flickr).

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