A visual tour of the Lost City

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Occassional guides for Wiwa Tours, the only indigenous owned tour company operating in the Lost City.

 

“In the early 1970s, a group of looters searching for Pre-Columbian artifacts in the jungles of Colombia’s Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta stumbled upon a set of worn stone steps leading up a ridge from the shore of the Buritaca river. At the end of more than 1,200 stairs, they found the ruins of an ancient, silent, abandoned city.

Shortly afterwards, a slew of exquisite artifacts began to flood Colombia’s black market, leaving archaeologists of the era puzzled as to the origins of such intricate golden figurines, urns, beads and statues.

Investigators soon caught on to the trail left by grave robbers. The region, which had been dubbed “Green Hell” by the looters, seemed impossibly difficult. Between the impenetrable tropical forest, the steep, treacherous gradations slicked by constant downpours, and clouds of disease-bearing mosquitoes, progress was slow. But by 1975, excavations were underway, and the site was shortly thereafter revealed to the world as Ciudad Perdida, or the “Lost City”.

What the archaeologists had uncovered was incredible, one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the century—a massive city, once home to some 2,000-8,000 inhabitants.” – Read More

Musical roadtrip to Colombia’s coast

“Explore the vibrant culture of the contemporary Caribbean music scene in this Native Instruments original documentary. Producer Mauricio Alvarez takes us on a trip from Bogotá to the Colombian coast in an attempt to understand the spirit of Caribbean groove, highlighting the soundsystems, the artwork, and a generation of musicians and producers creating a new music all their own.”

Tracklist:

00:00 Bota candela :: Sultana (unreleased Kobra edit)
00:26 Danza de los mirlos :: Los Mirlos (live Dengue Dengue Dengue Refix)
01:17 El Preferido :: El Remolón (ZZK)
02:00 Bye Bye :: Cero39 (Polen records)
03:17 Brisa :: Cero39 live (Kobra edit)
06:20 Saludos a Kamisama :: Cero39 (unreleased)
07:50  La guitarra que llora :: ?  (n/a)
10:19 Descarga tacones :: Pollo Burbano (Private press)
11:11 El Agua :: Dj Rata Piano (n/a)
14:01 Cero39 a lo Ratista :: Cero39 & Dj Rata Piano live (Kobra edit)
15:17 La Orejera Coleta :: ? (n/a)
17:16 Amanecer :: Dj Dever feat. Lil Silvio (Passa Passa)
19:13 El vacile de la nevera :: Cero39 & Dj Dever live (Kobra edit)
20:17 El Manimal :: Anne Zwing (Kuky)

Sidestepper talks to Alt Latino

I caught this half-hour Alt Latino interview with Richard Blair, aka Sidestepper, and it just flew by (I’m both happy and sad about that) because the music contained within is beautiful. Check it out ; )

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“Richard Blair is from Britain, but his heart is in Colombia. Blair went from producing albums for Peter Gabriel to immersing himself in the music and culture of Colombia — itself a country with deep African roots.

He chased a sound he’d heard in his head; one that mixed the burgeoning electronic music scene of Britain with the Afro-Colombian sounds he’d heard in the streets and clubs of Bogota, the Colombian capital.

The result, formed in 1996, was the band Sidestepper, which released four albums that left a huge impression on the Colombian music scene. Current Colombian bands like Bomba Estereo and Choc Quib Town have spoken at length about the influence of Sidestepper on their music.

Blair recently assembled a new generation of Colombian musicians to re-form Sidestepper and release an album (Supernatural Love) with a sound that looks forward and backward at the same time. It’s rich with tradition, and with the sounds of clubs around the world.

This week on Alt.Latino, Blair joins us to discuss Sidestepper’s history, his own musical influences, and what we’ve determined to be the ultimate truth. (Listen in to find out what I mean.)”

Listen to the great 33 minute podcast at NPR

Law 70 and the Pacifico

Skimming a recent Economist article on how change comes slowly for the people of the Pacifico, I saw the following quote:

“…as 84% of land in the Pacific region is subject to collective-title rights granted to black and indigenous groups. The introduction of such rights in 1993.” [1]

Having read several Colombian history books, I didn’t recall reading about this before so I looked it up and found out more.

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From “The territorial turn: Making black territories in Pacific Colombia” [2]

As “ethnic communities” distinct from the national culture, many rural blacks who are able to demonstrate a history of customary tenure arrangements often emulate indigenous strategies for land recognition (Thorne 2001). The Pacific region of Colombia provides a case in point. In order to address calls for democratic reforms in a country torn apart by 40 years of civil war, Colombia elected a constituent assembly and changed its constitution in 1991.

Although the constitution did not set out to address ethnic issues per se, it redefined the country as multiethnic and pluricultural. Backing up rhetoric with deeds, the new constitution’s Transitory Article 55 (AT-55) required Congress to pass a law granting “black communities” (comunidades negras) of the “Pacific watershed” collective property titles to the rural and riparian areas that they occupy “in conformity with their traditional systems of production.

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As a result of AT55, Law 70 (PDF) was passed two years later. Law 70 guarantees black communities of the Pacific “territorial rights.” By 1995, procedural Decree 1745 required a multitude of governmental institutions and agencies to work together to demarcate and title black territories to representative community councils (consejos comunitarios). Required by law to receive a title, the councils were newly created ethno-territorial and political entities required to solicit and administer the new territories.

Between 1996 and May of 2003, the Colombian government demarcated and titled 122 black territories. These territories enclose over 4.5 million hectares, contain 1,250 black communities, and represent 270,000 people (Figure 1). Size and population vary dramatically; one territory contains as few as 30 people living in a single community, while the largest territory contains 30,000 people in 90 different communities and encompasses more than a half million hectares. Not yet complete, the project is already among the most ambitious and radical territorial reorderings ever attempted in Latin America (Table 1).

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The well-seasoned story of Margarita

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“Margarita Estupiñán was born in El Charco, Nariño, more than four decades ago. At 12 years old, after a family fight, she left her home and landed in Cali where, for some unknown reason – let’s say almost miraculously – a traditional local family adopted her, raised her, paid her studies and taught her several trades, among them the gratifying art of cooking.

When Margarita was 18, the family said: “We’ve done our part; now it’s your turn”. And thus she set out for Bogotá in search of work. Among other jobs, the “Negrita” (as everyone called her), was employed by the Croydon, a packaging company for roses in the Bogotá savanna.

Some of the flowers didn’t classify as exportable so Margarita bought and sold them, door to door, in the streets of northern Bogotá. One day she sold a rose bouquet to Melisa Guibert, a French women that had a boutique in the El Chicó neighborhood.

That afternoon, Melisa asked her: “Have you eaten (here) yet?” To which Margarita responded: “What do you think?” Melisa took her to her elegant apartment in Los Rosales and prepared a type of meat she had never had before. “I want to learn to make this”, Margarita told her.

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And she not only learned to make a steak like that – as she also learned what it was called -, but then she picked apart a French recipe book from the 50s, 60s, and 70s, in which Mrs Guibert was an expert.

So, during 7 years, Margarita cultivated and dominated this succulent type of world cuisine.

In December, 17 years ago, Margarita went on vacation in Santa Marta, a land she then fell in love with. That’s when she decided to leave everything and, with her savings, opened a small place for French food called San Basilio.

The overwhelming success of the restaurant made Margarita expand, and so she rented a place in the city’s historic downtown, where her business still operates. Since then, Basilea (a name she later chose in order to give it a European touch), is an exquisite gastronomic reference in the city.

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Due to the curious curves that destiny proposed, one afternoon a Swiss man named Christian Bumann happened upon her place. And yes…it was love at first sight (it’s been going strong 8 years).

But the incredible and well-seasoned story of Margarita didn’t and doesn’t stop there. Soon after Christian would get to know, in the intimacy of her home, her other speciality: cuisine of the Colombian Pacífico, and so he got her to open another spot, showcasing her other cuisine. The place became reality and it’s called Casa Marina.

If only due to such a story, it’s worth it to sit down at any of the two places. I’ve gone to Basilea many times, and yes, it’s a classic. A little while back, I visited Casa Marina and, in an “encocado” of shrimp, I found Margarita’s other truth: Pacific cuisine. In both cases, pure seasoning and a lot of heart.” – Source (which I translated)

Casa Marina.
Calle 19 N°. 3-53.
Santa Marta
Tel.: (5) 423 1809

Basilea
Calle 16 N°. 2-58
Santa Marta
Tel.: (5) 431 4138