Saturday, November 30, 2013

El Son de Negro

El Son de Negro as it's name indicates is danced by blacks, it is a black African-influenced dance that derived from the slaves brought to America. They where brought in ships to Cartagena, Colombia during those times that the slave market was present. It is said this dance was born in Santa Lucia a town in the South Atlantic.

The black slaves during that time exaggerated their facial and body gestures as a form of entertainment and used them to make fun of the Spanish. This dance is mostly just played by men.

The costume for the men is trying to show the idea as if the where naked, so they only wear a bermuda which is all black. The dancers all paint their body black to represent the color of the blacks, and use red dye on their mouth and tongue which symbolize them the most. This "negros" wear a colorful hat mad up of paper flowers, it is used for sun protection, and they also wear a couple of colorful necklaces. Finally on their hand they carry a machete.

When it comes to the dancing the movements are hard and fast. The men dramatize the expressions with their mouth opened and their tongue out. The rhythm is accompanied by tables and the palms as well as a drum beat, and the sound of guacharaca.

Dake. El son de negro, una muestra de lo que es el carnaval. Online Image. 30 November 2013 <>.

El Son de Negro. Online Image. 30 November 2013 <>

Polo, Carlos. "El Son de Negro, un canto de agua dulce para aliviar el alma." El Heraldo.
30 November 2013<>.

"El Son de Negro." Carnaval de Barranquilla. 30 November 2013 <>.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

El Mapale

The most traditional African dance is called the Mapalé where the presence of blacks in Barranquila's carnival is always present. This dance consist mostly of movements in the hips, waist and arms. The movements range from the fastest to slow and sensual.

The Mapalé danced with a couple and the routine starts by making to lines, one of women and the other the men. They are facing each other and make progress by moving forward and backwards exchanging places in their lines. Most of the time the dancers keep their arms extended and their feet separated. Men and woman both move their hips  and body fast with strong movements. They say the beat which includes a lot of drumming comes from ancient dances practiced by African slaves in the Caribbean coast of Colombia.

When it comes to clothing men wear pants that are until their knee, any color. They are barefoot and shirtless, sometimes with a scarf or turban on their head. But some men prefer to wear shirt so in this case the men who dance mapalé use a sleeveless shirt and most of the time it's has a leopard fabric. Woman uses a short skirt, and a brightly colored blouse with a armhole sleeve, also mostly made with a leopard fabric or  it can be any color. It also goes barefoot. On their head woman use flowers or simple turbans. 


El Mapale. Online Image. 28 November 2013<>.

"Cátedra de Carnaval, Manifestaciones culturales, El Mapalé."Carnaval de Barranquilla. 28 November 2013 <>.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

La Reina del Carnaval

At Barranquilla's Carnival the one person that brings the happiness to all the city is the Carnival Queen. Each year a new queen is chosen by the Board of the Fundacion Carnaval de Barranquilla often in the months of August and September. The queen has the job to be the center of attention and motivate all Barranquilleros to participate and enjoy their favorite time of the year which is it's carnival. This years Queen is Maria Margarita Diazgranados, she is already working hard to have a unforgettable year.

Every year on January in Barranquilla (Colombia), a city located on the Caribbean sea, the carnivals begin with a proclamation called "El Bando". This day the queen on a huge stage in a stadium in front of many Barranquilleros orders and provides that the rule of joy is set in the city and that everyone has to dance and enjoy until they can't move. Then she does a small presentation by dancing and the show is continued by singers. After el Bando comes "The Coronacion" where the Queen receives her crown after a huge presentation and here is where the 4 days of carnival start.

Saturday of Carnival or how its named "Sabado de Carnaval" our Queen presides over the parade called Battle of Flowers. In this parade numerous folk groups including the Congo, Marimondas, Garabato, la Cumbia and others follow the Queen in a big truck that is decorated with a different theme every year.  Also during Carnavales theres other folk festivals and parades such as The Guacherna, the Grand Parade and Festival of Orchestras which are popular events in public we all enjoy.

Coronacion de la reina del carnaval. Online Image. 26 November 2013 <>.

Coronacion de la reina del Carnaval. Online Image. 26 November 2013 <>.

"La Reina del Carnaval." Colombia-Bando del Carnaval de Barranquilla. 26 November 2013<>.

The rest of the information i used was from my experience in the carnival after all these years.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Congo

One of the oldest costumes of el Carnaval de Barranquilla is The Congo, they say it was originated from a native war dance of the Congo, Africa. This dances one of the most outstanding dances in Barranquilla's carnival, the black Africans who where held in Cartagena are the reason of the spread of this dance in Colombia.

The costume consist of satin pants that can be any color and has patches in tabular form on the knees, these patches are each different color. The pants also carry on the side ribbons and sequins. The Congo's shirt is long sleeve and it is usually decorated with sequins and images of animals and symbols of Barranquilla such as our soccer team Junior.

When it comes to the head, this is what defines the Congo's most they wear a hat around their head and it holds fake flowers very colorful most of the time made with a special paper. On the back of the hat it holds a long tail adorned with sequins, ribbons, lace, bows and other decorations that make them look attractive.

This men which dance the Congo wear really dark glasses and paint their faces white with red circles on their cheeks. On their hands they carry a wooden machete to hit the ground during their dance.

The rhythm of this dance is called "Golpe del Congo", this men are dancing in the streets in two rows doing circles, crossing from side to side.

Vega, Rafael. Congo Grande de Barranquilla. Online Image. 23 November 2013 <>.

"Disafraz del Congo." Carnaval de Barranquilla. 23 November 2013 <>.

Friday, November 22, 2013


"The Monocuco " is the name given to this character and costume you can see below. The monocucos make part of Barranquilla's carnival and it originated when individuals who didn't want to show their face and hided their identity. What people say and how the story goes is that there was a time in Barranquilla where rich men where very attracted by the women with low resources. So "the monocuco" was created to conquer the woman without their identity during carnaval and keep sheltered from the gossip, which Barranquilleros are most known for to be "chismosos". 
El Monocuco. Online Image. 22 November 2013 <>.

This costume consist of a large colored robe with a hood to cover the face, this robe are all different and their unique style. It also consist of a mask that cover the rest of the face with a piece of cloth.

It is still not known its origin but what most can tell its from the carnaval traditional villages such as Rioacha, before the twentieth century. Now present the monocuco is still a present costume with its unique colors and features for example the mask to hide themselves.

The monocuco is considered to be fun and make fun of the rest. Today there is more than fifteen thousand monocucos in parades such as the Batalla De Flores (Battle of the flowers) showing its color and the joy to party they carry.

"El Monocuco". Carnaval de Barranquilla. 22 November 2013 <>.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Las Negrita Puloy

The Negrita Puloy which carries 40 years of happiness and fun, are a character in the carnaval of Barraquilla. "Palenqueras" as they are called, are descendants of africa and in fight for their freedom. This woman are widowed, single, married, lovers and even grandmothers that love to take the role of this character during carnaval. The Negritas puloy are dancers by nature and love to move their hips and shoulders.

The music they use  to move their legs and the rest of their body is fandango. This is a type of dancing with musical rhythm originated when the black slaves meet at nights in their streets and at that time the dance was serenaded by bagpipes and drums followed by a group of women which were the singers. They sung countless verses related to the different activities they performed during the day, that was their inspiration. (Rafael, "Fandango, el canto de la sabana".)

The Negrita Puloy character or costume consist of women dressed in black, red and white, with big necklaces and earrings. Mostly the where a short skirt and top with circles white while the background in red and this woman get the applause of the people who watch them. And while This character makes  history in the Carnival of Barranquilla, palenqueras walk by the streets of the city, selling and shouting boooollo, cocada, for hours with joy. (Bibian, "LAS NEGRITAS PULOY".)

Vega, Rafael. Las negritas Puloy. Online image. 21 November 2013 <>.

Charris, Andrea P. "Desde la Marimonda hasta la Negrita Puloy: Personajes del carnaval de Barranquilla." Sociedad. 21 November 2013 <>.

Vasquez, Rafael. "Fandango, el encanto de la sabana." Caimito Sucre. 21 November 2013 <>.

Redondo, Bibian. "LAS NEGRITAS PULOY". El Tiempo. 21 November 2013 <>.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

El Garabato

The dance El Garabato is one of the most spectacular dances in this carnaval. It mainly resembles the life and the death and it names origins from the spanish. The name "Garabato" was given because a wood stick that has red, green and yellow hung ribbons. This wood stick is called Garabato and it is used during the dance to end with a death of the challenge.

El garabato was disappearing until a Barranquillero called Emiliano Vengochea about 70 years ago brought it back and now as i said is one of the sensations in the carnaval. Every year in precarnaval (a couple of days before the Queen is given the crown) this dance occur,  the Carnaval Queen and thousands of people divided in subgroups participate. Currently this dance takes off at the school Biffi La Salle, and runs through some streets ending in  The Country Club. During the tour musicians accompany the dancers, each of them carries a drum or flutes creating the music beats. The anthem of "El Garabato" was composed by  Emiliano called "Te olvide" and it is sung by the participating bands.

The costume for the women's in this spectacular dance consist of a blouse and long skirt both black with a red ribbon around the waist. Also it is adorned by washers in the shoulders and at the bottom of the dress with the colors of the Barranquilla flag (red, green, yellow). Finally women compliment it by wearing an ornament in their head, more specifically flowers also with the flag's colors. Mens costume is quite different they wear a long-sleeved yellow shirt , a ' shaped front bib always blue with embroidered lace and sequins. The mens costume also consist of waring a  black trousers and in the knee with lace, high white socks, and black shoes. At their back they use a  red cape adorned with sequins and figures of many colors, it usually has different carnaval characters laced and placed.  As i said the men use the wooden stick called "garabato" and a white hat adorned with ribbons and cayenne flower also the three colors of the flag. Both men and women use black shoes while they dance this incredible and happy dance.

"Disfraz de la danza."Danza de El Garabato. 19 November 2013<>.