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August 16, 2009

This issue is on the heavyweights of Vallenato.

I am in Bogotá right now. I am staying with my cousin. His wife is from Valledupar, in the north of Colombia (see map). It is a small, very hot city near the coast, that sits beneath the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It is widely regarded as being the home of Vallenato, though many argue vallenato was born on the coast. Regardless, Valledupar plays host every year to the Festival Vallenato (this year will be the 42nd!)

colombia_mapSo I did an unscientific study to find out what the best Vallenato is. I asked each sister independently (one is around 40 years old, the other I think late 20s, and they are both very lively, dynamic women) to recommend some vallenato to me. Both of them said, in the first place, that they prefer classic vallenato. I was happy to hear that, because I think I do, too. They both added that classic vallenato has more substantive lyrics and beautiful songs.

Then they both mentioned almost exactly the same artists. I also found this exact same list of artists later while doing research on the internet. It appears that these are the undisputed kings of “classic” vallenato. I say “classic” because in fact it seems to me that these artists aren’t all that old. I will try and dig deeper to find some more old school vallenato.

I also found a great Vallenato website, where you can download mp3s and even whole albums, Mi Valledupar.

Also, to learn more about Vallenato, there is an incredible documentary called “El Acordeón del Diablo” which you can watch in its entirety on YouTube. Very good film, made by a German filmmaker. I really recommend it. More information here.

In the meantime, enjoy Los Betos, Diomedes Diaz, Los Hermanos Zuleta, Ivan Villazon, and Jorge Oñate (después del jump).

All right, I don’t even like all of this, but there are times when vallenato sounds so good. Like when you’re on the bus and it’s playing on the radio, or when you’re in a car driving through the Colombian countryside, or when you’re at a party on a hot afternoon and people are dancing it, or any time you see it live (so good live).

Los Betos, “Gitana”

Diomedes Diaz, “Sin Saber Que Me Espera”

Jorge Oñate, “Volví a Llorar”

Los Hermanos Zuleta, “Regresa”

Ivan Villazon, “Por un Amor”


One Comment leave one →
  1. September 7, 2009 10:08 pm

    Never heard this before. This is bangin! Some uncategorizable nastyness right here.

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