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Folklor group Tonada releases its first Bullerengue Album

Musical group, Tonada, released its first bullerengue record. This project was the winner of Barranquilla’s Mayor Office contest “Portafolio de Estímulos” and sings about life, death and parenthood, through Bailes Cantados (sung dances), which will be performed during “La Noche del Río” (one of the most popular events of Barranquilla’s Carnival), at Parque Cultural del Caribe in Barranquilla, on February 8th.

The album “Mi Tonada”, which is available in platforms such as Spotify, Deezer, iTunes, Google Play, among others, features 9 songs of the many sounds of bullerengue which are known as aires, and was recorded live in The Chanclet Studio (a studio created by musicians from Barranquilla), in order to capture the natural sounds of this genre.

This project was possible thanks to the support of New York’s independent label “Names you can Trust”, Colombian musician Camilo Rodríguez and Diana Herrera, who is also a member of Tonada, in addition to the budget granted by Barranquilla’s district “Portafolio de Estímulos” for the production of a promotional album. This is proof that the local independent scene can build a legacy in Colombian heritage.

Tonada was born when a group of students from Atlántico University with investigation purposes, approached Bullerengue genre from a closer perspective, by going to festivals in Puerto Escondido, Necoclí and María La Baja and studying singers, dancers, drummers and other actors.

Director of the group, Jaime Consuegra, says that in that moment they got to understand the tradition. “That first experience made us fall in love with buyerengue and we began to know what it was and found out it was a lifestyle”.

In that land where performers known as cantaoras and cantaores move their hips to the rhythm of the drums embracing their African roots, Tonada got to experience and absorb the idiosyncrasy of the Colombian Caribbean, which lead us to win awards for best group and best original song in festivals and cultural events. “The love for traditional music is about being there, going to the festivals and feeling the energy” says Tonada’s percussionist, Camilo Romero.

The urban-rural fusion has allowed them to create a unique identity that respects tradition and links it to academic knowledge, which allows new generations to safeguard bullerengue culture.

For Estefany Cotera, one of the album’s composers, who is also a folklore and violin teacher, Bullerengue is way of catharsis, because it allows people to express their joys and sorrows, which was the case of “Papa López” a song dedicated to her grandfather.

“Each year, on my birthday, I remembered my grandfather’s death…and coincidentally, every August someone died or there was a tragedy in my family; one of my uncles committed suicide during those days, so Papa López was born from the need to relieve my feelings and that bad vibe of August, and stop feeling sorrow for my grandfather’s death”.

The band is getting ready for their performance in La Noche del Río, one of the most popular events of the Carnival season in Barranquilla, and hopes to promote the album during this year in different across Colombia and the world, without ignoring their responsibility as cultural agents and their “Noche de Tonadas” or Tonada Nights, events they created to invite people from Barranquilla to enjoy bullerengue on any time of the year.

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