April 14th, 2019

feathers on the line

la piragua de Guillermo Cubillos

I've been listening to a two-CD collection of some of Colombia's most famous cumbias, and the one that's my current favorite is "La Piragua," the tragic story of the sinking of an ambitiously large piragua (pirogue--like a long canoe) on its maiden voyage. This cumbia, written by Jose Barros, has been sung by bunches of different singers in bunches of different styles, but this is the version I heard, so it has pride of place in my heart. But for instance, there's this much more romantic version, complete with pan pipes sung by Carlos Vives.

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The line that grabbed me when I was first listening was the ejercito de estrellas la seguía (an army/host of stars followed it), and when I understood that the next line meant "studding it with light and legend," I was very hearts-for-eyes.

The story goes that Guillermo Cubillos commissioned this giant pirogue to ferry goods between El Banco in the south and Chimichagua, to the north (see helpful map).

According to the dramatization on this page, the pirogue set out for its maiden voyage on November 1, 1929, met a storm, and sank. (The dramatization is done by children, and they do a super-charming job, but apart from the performance quality, the dramatization has all kinds of details--the names of all the oarsmen, what the pirogue was carrying--I'm not sure if all of this stuff is known fact or if creative liberties have been taken, but the dramatization was created in Chimicagua itself, so maybe it's all true?)

I love that page, by the way--It's a subpage of a project called "Las Fronteras Cuentan" (The Borders Count), created by the government to highlight and share the stories and traditions of marginalized parts of Colombia:
Radialistas, indígenas, jóvenes, mujeres, campesinos y diversos colectivos de comunicación son los encargados de investigar y narrar las historias sobre sus territorios de frontera.

And on the page on the story of Guillermo Cubillos, I found out that the "beaches of love" are in an area called la Ciénaga de Zapatosa (Marsh of Zapatosa), which is--so the page tells me--the largest reserve of freshwater in the world. I started out with fun music and found a folktale, a marsh, and an effort to amplify the stories of marginalized people in Colombia. I feel **happy**.

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/910458.html. Comments are welcome at either location.