It’s hard to contain the excitement of being back on the road again, and especially of heading straight to a place I know nothing about.
On Saturday and Sunday Nuqui will be hosting the NuquiFestival. As far as I’m aware it’s being organised by Arianna Vallecilla, a Colombian married to Will “Quantic” Holland, a relatively famous (he’s played some big festivals, Southbank Centre, Lincoln Center in New York, etc.) British producer, musician and extreme convert to the Colombian musical cause. I had met both of them last year, Will at Discos Fuentes in Medellín where he was working on his Ondatropica project and Arianna in Cartagena where we got talking about música pacifica, the distinctively Afro-Colombian music of Colombia’s Pacific coast. On that occasion she sold me a copy of Una Sola Raza by Grupo Canalón de Timbiqui, as pure an expression of Afro-Colombian music as you’re likely to find.
I’m hoping that Grupo Canalón will be at NuquiFestival, as well as Will and a few other musicians I’ve met along the way. In truth, it’s hard to know who will be at the festival as all that exists to even prove it will be happening is a Facebook page that includes a couple of directions and an apology for not updating the page very often.
I’ll be flying to Nuqui from Medellín. It will mark my first visit to Colombia’s Pacific coast and my first visit to the Pacific coast since spending a week in Máncora (Peru) what seems like an eternity ago.
It’s the Pacific coast of Colombia which I’ve most wanted to visit since leaving Colombia last year with a bag full of new Colombian music and the names of a hundred artists I wanted to listen to. The music from this region has retained it’s sense of origin despite influences of salsa and jazz. It’s music which can hit you right in your soul; devotional, passionate, hypnotic, a beautiful example of how African slaves were able to adapt their sacred music to a new environment while also bringing in a different catalogue of instruments.
This is the music which I am hoping will be rife in Nuqui, and the reason why I had to give up my New Year’s Eve to get a New Year’s Day flight to Colombia and make sure I will be in attendance.