February 4, 2011 § Leave a Comment
“For the descendants of African slaves who populate Colombia’s poorest, most corruption-ridden corner, music has long been the most natural of distractions from a very hard life.
And so it is for ChocQuibTown, a soulful, hip-hop trio in the running for the year’s best Latin-Rock/Alternative Album at the Grammys on Feb. 13 in Los Angeles. Their music is a soapbox that you dance to.
“De Donde Vengo Yo” (Where I Come From), which won Best Alternative Song at the Latin Grammys in November, is a spirited lament of the hard-luck life: multinationals and corrupt politicians get rich off gold and platinum; poor blacks get run off their land by illegal militias.
Forty-five percent of the 450,000 inhabitants of the band’s home province of Choco, which is along Colombia’s northwest coast bordering Panama, has been uprooted, while 70 percent live on less than a dollar a day. Paved streets, electricity and running water are rare.” – ABC News (more here)
February 2, 2011 § Leave a Comment
“At 2 p.m. sharp, thousands fill the rickety, wooden stands in Sincelejo, Colombia. When the brass bands begin to warm up, everyone knows the action is about to begin.
Suddenly, a 900-pound bull charges into a ring filled with men, and participants are gored and sometimes even killed. These bull festivals, known as Corralejas, take place in the first three months of the year. Although they are dangerous, Corralejas are embedded in Colombian culture and continue to live on. The men taunt the bull with capes, some wield sticks and others try to rope it. Twenty horsemen chase after the bull, stabbing it with long, wooden pikes. The bull fights back, sometimes killing horses.
The bull is quickly spent — bleeding and exhausted. It’s lassoed and led out. Some bulls die; others live to fight another day. Some of the men also leave the arena quite battered.” – NPR (more here, audio, too)
January 29, 2011 § 1 Comment
Here’s a few recent videos from ProExport Colombia.
January 29, 2011 § Leave a Comment
“Ajiaco is a Colombian potato soup. Although several regions of Colombia have their distinct recipe, the most famous is ajiaco santafereño, named after Santa Fé de Bogotá (the former name of Bogotá) capital of Colombia, where it is a cultural mainstay. It typically contains pieces of chicken, large chunks of corn on the cob, two or three kinds of native potatoes (tiny papas criollas that fall apart and thicken the soup, and give the soup its characteristic dark yellow color; the waxy sabanera and/or the soft pastusa), and guasca (Galinsoga parviflora), a weedy, aromatic herb common in all America that lends the dish part of its distinctive flavour.
The soup is typically served with heavy cream, capers and avocado all mixed in just before eating in the proportions each individual prefers. Ajiaco is so heavy that it is usually considered a full meal. In the highly regional Colombian cuisine, this is most representative dish of Bogotá.” – Wikipedia
Below is the video recipe for making ajiaco from the Tolima department.
January 24, 2011 § 1 Comment
As of the time of this posting, the video has almost double the dislikes than likes on Youtube. The main criticism seems to be that the Spanish crew didn’t search out enough of the good aspects of Cali. At the same time, after having watched the entire 50 minutes, I can say that if you know Colombia, Colombians and how outsiders tend to treat both subjects, it’s easy enough to find the documentary enjoyable by knowing how to filter it properly.
January 23, 2011 § Leave a Comment
“Jorge Elias Benjumea proudly inspects his plantain field. The 46-year-old father of three says he’s not only happy his crops are doing well, but also, for the first time in years, he can tell the world that what he’s growing is legal.
Benjumea, a resident of the Colombian province of Meta; used to grow coca, the plant from which cocaine is produced. “Everything is different now, more peaceful. I go to bed at night with no worries,” Benjumea says.
He used to make $2,800 a month growing coca. Now he makes about $840 with plantains. On the flip side, he doesn’t have to deal with guerrillas or drug traffickers anymore. The Colombian government has greatly increased its military presence in the area, improving security and giving farmers an alternative to growing coca.” – CNN (more here)
November 13, 2010 § 1 Comment
One of my most popular posts in terms of views is on the chiguiro meat market, which is a repost of an article I found about how chiguiros (or, capybaras in English) are being killed for their meat. Sure, they are rodents but when you watch videos of them you start to see they have personalities like most other animals. That’s why I’d like to talk about the capybara pet market…which I practically know nothing about, though, I found an American woman who does.
Find out more about Caplin the Capybara, as well as information that goes from general to specific over at Giant Hamster (you may want to give the site some time to load). Caplin is so smart, the blog is in first person, plus he tweets, ‘facebooks’ and a whole bunch of other things!
November 13, 2010 § Leave a Comment
“A Colombian healer is being held in US custody after authorities discovered a psychedelic concoction when he flew into Houston International Airport in Texas. On Tuesday, October 19, medicine man Taita Juan Agreda Chindoy was detained and then arrested by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement for possession of his traditional medicine Ayahuasca.
The shaman, who was on his way to Oregon to give a presentation, is now being charged as a federal criminal and is facing up to 20 years in federal prison after he flew in from Colombia. Taita Juan, a traditional healer of the Cametsa people who live in the Sibundoy Valley in Colombia’s Alto Putomayo region, is certified by his community and by the Colombian Ministry of Health as a traditional healer.
But despite his revered position, he faces drug trafficking charges because ayahuasca is banned under the US Controlled Substances Act as it contains DMT, a fast-acting hallucinogenic chemical. Taita Juan’s supporters have set up a website, www.freetaitajuan.org, to campaign against his arrest.” – Daily Mail