The author of the music for my crochet videoDiana Burco , is an excellent performer of modern vallenato. Vallenato is arguably the most popular style of music in Colombia. It’s what bus drivers listen to to their annoyance, what your neighbours play while dancing the night away or sitting behind the booze and it’s always played at super high volume. It comes, like so many other styles, from the melting pot of the Caribbean. Gabriel García Márquez once said that A Hundred Years of Solitude is a 400-page vallenato. The songs of the vallenato are often like mini-epics, full of poetry, local and mystical characters, with all sorts of trivial as well as magical happenings. Inextricably linked to the vallenato is the accordion, or rather the diatonic bellows, which arrived in Colombia from Germany at the end of the 19th century and by 1930 had become the main accompanying instrument. Today, it is impossible to imagine the vallenato without it: in the photo, a typical Friday evening in a small Colombian town on the banks of the Cauca river.
The village-to-village performance of the travelling musicians who inspired Gabriel Garcia Marquez in his day is also very much alive today. In the video clip below, Álvaro Pérez performs a typical vallenato song, which he performed in competition at the annual Vallenato Festival. This festival is a hugely popular and colourful event, well worth a visit, especially for those interested in seeing and hearing how the salt of the earth lives and flourishes – the farmers and ranchers of the Caribbean interior.