Vallenato Legend Festival
|Years active||every year since 1968|
|Date(s)||End of April (usually four days)|
The Vallenato Legend Festival (Spanish: Festival de la Leyenda Vallenata) is one of the most important musical festivals in Colombia. The Festival features a vallenato music contests for best interpreter of accordion, caja vallenata and guacharaca, as well as piqueria (battle of lyrics) and best song. It’s celebrated every year in April in the city of Valledupar, Department of Cesar.
Its origin dates back to 1968 when the celebrated vallenato composer Rafael Escalona, the then governor of the state of Cesar and former president of the republic of Colombia, Alfonso López Michelsen, and the writer, journalist and former Minister of Culture Consuelo Araújo, came up with the idea of organizing a festival that celebrated vallenato, a musical genre that’s autochthonous to Colombia’s northern atlantic coast and also celebrate a religious festivity of "The Virgin of the Rosario".
Since 1986, the organization of this festival rests in the hands of the Fundación Festival de la Leyenda Vallenata (Vallenato Legend Festival Foundation) a non-profit private entity in charge of the promotion, publicity and defense of vallenato music as one of the immaterial cultural legacies of Colombia.
The Legend: The legend says that during the Spanish colonial period, two amerindian tribes from the Tairona culture; the Tupes and the Chimilas, along with other members of other tribes, rebelled against the Spanish colonizers after one indigenous woman named Francisca who worked as a maid for a Spanish family was severely punished by her jealous master, who cut her hair and whipped her publicly. One of her fellow Indian tribesmen also working for the Spaniards, escaped and told his tribe's cacique about this offensive insult. The angry Indians organized an attack, destroying most of the town and killing many people. When trying to destroy the temple, the "Virgin of the Rosario" appeared and with her cape blocked their arrows preventing them from destroying it. The natives, scared, escaped to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, and knowing that the Spaniards would follow them and would be in need of drinking water, they poisoned the "Sicarare lake". This resulted in the death of all the Spaniards involved. The Virgin reappeared and began touching their bodies with her wand and reviving them. The surprised Indians finally surrendered.
The most important event during the celebration of this festival is the vallenato musical contest. The winners are chosen by a vallenato experienced jury that evaluate the contestants’ prowess in the four main rhythms which are paseo, son, puya and merengue. There are several categories in which the contestants may participate including: "professional accordion player", "amateur accordion player", "young accordion player", "best new vallenato song", and piquerías (in which each competitor's goal is to 'diss' their opponent through clever lyrics).
Besides the annual winners, there is also a special award given to renowned vallenato composers and performers, a statuette known as La Pilonera Mayor, which is given in recognition of the recipient’s dedication to vallenato music. La Pilonera Mayor is the highest honor given to a vallenato musician in Colombia and only six composers have received it until now. This award is given in honoris memoriam of disappeared Consuelo Araújo.
- Judges for competitions are selected by the Board of Directors of the Vallenato Legend Festival Foundation (Fundacion Festival de la Leyenda Vallenata) and must be affiliated members.
King of Kings
The Rey de Reyes festival editions occur every 10 years, since 1987 and only previous winners can participate. The first winner was Colacho Mendoza, followed by Gonzalo "Cocha" Molina, the third King of Kings Hugo Carlos Granados won on May 1, 2007.
|No||Year||Professional Accordion Player||Amateur Accordion Player||Juvenile Accordion Player||Infant Accordion Player||Composer of New Vallenato Song||Winning song||Piqueria|
|2||1969||Nicolás Mendoza||Emiliano Zuleta Díaz||none||none||Gustavo Gutiérrez||Rumores de viejas voces||none|
|3||1970||Calixto Ochoa||Emilio Oviedo||none||Ciro Meza Reales||Freddy Molina||El indio desventurado||none|
|4||1971||Alberto Pacheco||Carmencito Mendoza||Antolin Arias||Adiel Vega||Santander Duran||Lamento Arhuaco||none|
|5||1972||Miguel López||Ciro Meza Reales (Semiprofesional: Alberto Rada)||none||Luciano Poveda||Camilo Namén||Recordando mi niñez||none|
|6||1973||Luis Enrique Martínez||Egidio Cuadrado (Semiprofesional: Álvaro Cabas)||none||Raúl Martínez||Armando Zabaleta||No vuelvo a Patillal||none|
|7||1974||Alfredo Gutiérrez||Alberto Villa (Semiprofessional José María Argote)||none||Gustavo Maestre||Nicolás Maestre||El Hachero||none|
|8||1975||Julio De la Ossa||Raúl Martínez (Semiprofesional: Luis Villa)||none||Orangel Maestre||none in 1st place||none in 1st place||none|
|9||1976||Nafer Durán||Álvaro López (Semiprofesional: José María Ramos)||none||Fernando Dangond||Julio Onate||La Profecía||none|
|10||1977||José María Ramos||Adiel Vega||none||Navin López||Alonso Fernández||Yo soy Vallenato||none|
|11||1978||Alfredo Gutiérrez||Carlos Arrieta||none||Jose Alfonso Maestre||Octavio Daza||Río Badillo||none|
|12||1979||Rafael Salas||Álvaro López||none||Jose Vásquez||Pedro García||El Poeta Pintor||Andrés Beleno|
|13||1980||Elberto López||Navín López||none||Hugo Carlos Granados||Tomás Darío Gutiérrez||Voz de acordeones||Luis Manjarrez|
|14||1981||Raúl Martínez||Álvaro Meza||none||Miguel Avendano||Fernando Dangond||Nacio mi Poesía||Wilman Rodríguez|
|15||1982||Eliecer Ochoa||Gonzalo Molina||none||José López||Gustavo Gutiérrez||Paisaje de Sol||Antonio Salas|
|16||1983||Julio Rojas||Segundo Vanegas||none||Raúl Vega||Julio Díaz||Yo soy el acordeón||Alcides Manjarrez|
|17||1984||Orangel Maestre||Carlos Bracho||none||Aider Vega||Juvenal Daza||La Espinita||Alcides Manjarrez|
|18||1985||Egidio Cuadrado||Omar Geles||none||Gustavo Osorio||Emiliano Zuleta Díaz||Mi Acordeón||José Villero|
|19||1986||Alfredo Gutiérrez||Hugo Carlos Granados||none||Juan David Herrera||Rafael Manjarrez||Ausencia Sentimental||Ivo Díaz|
|20||1987||Nicolás Mendoza||Omar Geles||none||No 1st place||Santander Duran||La Canción del Valor||none|
|21||1988||Alberto Villa||Hildelmaro Bolanos||none||Iván Zuleta||Marciano Martínez||Con el alma en la mano||Juan Oviedo|
|22||1989||Omar Gelles||Juan Carlos Ovalle||none||Harold Rivera||José F. Mejía||Puya Almojabanera||Luis M. Onate|
|23||1990||Gonzalo Molina||Juan David Herrera||none||Jaime Bornacelli||José F. Mejía||No hay tierra como mi tierra||Rafael Zuleta|
|24||1991||Julián Rojas||Álvaro Meza||none||Saúl Soto||Gustavo Calderón||Mementos del ayer||José Bornacelli|
|25||1992||Álvaro López||Juan José Granados||none||Franklin Vega||Hernando Marín||Valledupar del alma||No 1st place|
|26||1993||Alberto Rada||Manuel Vega||none||Víctor Beltrán||Ivo Díaz||Dame tu alma||Alcides Manjarrez|
|27||1994||Julio Rojas||Iván Zuleta||none||Sergio Luis Rodríguez||Iván Ovalle||Yo vivo enamorado del valle||Guillermo Arzuaga|
|28||1995||Freddy Sierra||Harold Rivera||none||Sergio Iguarán||Hortensia Lanao||¿Qué hago, Señor?||Andrés Barros|
|29||1996||Juan David Herrera||Moisés Polo||none||Marlon González||Alfonso Cotes Maya||La cabeza de Pavajeau||Wilman Felizzola|
|30||1997||Gonzalo Molina||Hugo Carlos Granados||none||Sergio Luis Rodríguez||Emiliano Zuleta Díaz||Mi pobre valle||No 1st place|
|31||1998||Saúl Lallemand||Ramón Villa||none||Ángel Torres||Luis Cujía; Ramiro Garrido; Sergio Moya; Luis Ramírez||Yo soy el cantor; Yo soy el son; recuerdos de viejos tiempos; puya del folklor||José Ariza|
|32||1999||Hugo Carlos Granadaos||Deivis Rivera||none||Manuel José Martínez||Félix Carrillo; Winston Muegues; Antonia Daza; Deimer Marin||Mi pobre acordeón; Los barrios del valle; El orgullo de nacer; Maestro de maestros||Julio Cárdenas|
|33||2000||José María Ramos Jr.||Nemer Yesid Tetay||none||Luis José Villa Guete||Santander Duran Escalona||Cantares de vaqueria||José Bornacelli|
|34||2001||Álvaro Meza Reales||Christian Camilo Peña||none||Yosimar Rodríguez||Winston Muegues||La Estratificación||Julio Salas|
|35||2002||Navín López Araujo||Marlon González||none||Camilo Carvajal Cuadro||Melquisedec Namen Rapalino||Vestida de gloria||José Félix Ariza|
|36||2003||Ciro Meza Reales||John Jaider Suárez||Luis Villa Guete||Jairo De la Ossa Otero||Martha Guerra||Un soncito tolimense||Teobaldo Penalosa|
|37||2004||Harold Rivera||Omar Hernández||Fernando Rangel Molina||Carlos Mario Ramírez||Guillermo Doria Borrero||Raíces de Oro||José Félix Ariza|
|38||2005||Juan José Granados||Ángel Torres Arroyo||Mauricio de Santis||Camilo Andres Molina||Julio César Daza||Sueno Vallenato||Julio Cárdenas|
|39||2006||Alberto Jamaica||Rodolfo de la Valle Escorcia||Javier Rogrigo Álvarez||Jesús Ocampo Ospino||Ever Jiménez||El Valle es tu casa||Rubén Ariza|
|40||2007||Hugo Carlos Granados||Ómar Hernández Brochero||Rodolfo Miguel Molina Meza||Yeimy Arrieta||Santander Duran Escalona||Entre cantores||José Dolores Bornacelly|
Dances and other events
Piloneras Parade: This traditional dance was recovered from extinction in 1994 thanks to the Vallenato Legend Festival Foundation effort, and was added to the festival's programming as the opening show. This dance is traditional of the magdalena river reveres. Traditionally Dancers paraded on the streets using a giant wooden mortar and pestle, (usually used to squash corn and produce corn flour), the men and women danced around the 'corn smashing' in a courteous and flirting way, dancing in front of friend's houses to receive liquor in exchange. But the festival kept the dance and turn it into a competition among groups of Piloneros and whoever exposes the best show becomes the winner. There are three categories; Infants, youth and adults.
- Record labels present their best artists and orchestras throughout the Festival, usually before, during recess of events and after competition.
- Many Nightclubs and Event Centers offer alternative parties with vallenato musical groups and other orchestras.
- Certain families affiliated to this Festival often throw open "parrandas" or parties to special guests and friends.
- The Festival also sponsors cultural activities related to the festival; debates, symposia, panel discussions, traditional storytelling, paintings expositions, artesanias and book expositions, among other cultural events.
- Valledupar and surrounding towns have cockfight arenas, that have tournaments during the Festival dates. This sport considered brutal for some represent a major attraction for locals and some tourists, but are not sponsored by the Vallenato Legend Festival. This sport is a strong traditional hobby for some locals (passion for some) mixed with vallenato "parrandas" and lots of gambling.
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