Over the summer many festivals and shows of Folklore music take place in the city of Cordoba and around the region. It is not only a celebration of native music and dance but also of excellent food and wine.
The music of Argentina is known mostly for the tango, which developed in Buenos Aires and surrounding areas. However, in most parts of Argentina, folk music—called folklore in Spanish — is very popular and comes in many forms with different European and indigenous influences.
Among the first traditional folk groups to record extensively in Argentina, three of the most influential were from the northwest: Los Chalchaleros and Los Fronterizos from the Province of Salta and the Ábalos brothers from Santiago del Estero Province. Becoming nearly instant successes following their first albums around 1950, they inspired a revival of the genre in Argentina.
A famous soloist in the genre is guitarist Eduardo Falú, known for the many compositions that set traditional poetry into music. Traditional folk music became increasingly important during the protest movement against the military dictatorship and the community divisions of the 1970s, with artists like Mercedes Sosa and Atahualpa Yupanqui, contributing to the development of nueva canción. Soledad Pastorutti ('La Sole') has brought folklore to a new audience, and in the early 21st century Juana Molina has proposed a fusion between electronic music and folklore with ambient sounds, a gentle voice and short zambas.
A well-known venue for Argentine folklore music, the Cosquín National Folklore Festival, has been gathering musicians from the genre annually since 1961. A modest event at first, the festival has grown to include folk musicians from neighboring countries and Asia, as well as from throughout Argentina itself. Focusing on folklore music, the festival nevertheless features talent from the worlds of tango, acoustic music and international culture.
Our last dirty weekend was about helping out in the planting of 600 native trees in the area of La Quebrada dam which provides water for Río Ceballos, Unquillo and Mendiolaza amongst others. These trees are very importance since they filter the water that go into our rivers and thus help regulate the ecosystem.
Bio-reforestacion, an ONG, with the help of the Cooperativa de Agua y Servicios of Río Ceballos organised a 3 day event called Plantar Arboles and Projects Abroad decided to take part in this project by giving out a hand on the first day. It was a great experience! All the volunteers enjoyed helping out this small team digging out deep holes, planting the delicate trees and watering them. After pick-nicking all together and planting more trees we headed home as the sun set down.
We would like to thank all the volunteers who got up really early to help preserve our environment!
Sparkling sequins and Amazonian feathers jig about to the infectious beat of Brazilian music at Argentina's most spectacular festival, the annual Gualeguaychú Carnival. Huge floats with fantastically costumed dancers parade night and day every Saturday during summer in Gualeguaychú.
Thousands of visitors and dancers crowd around 12 slow-moving carnival floats that are led by renowned dancing groups, comparsas. Every year, each group chooses a theme for their costumes and the opening of the parade is carried out with great pomp and ceremony.
As with the gigantic carnivals in Brazil, each dancing group has an intriguing history behind it, full of tribal folklore and the influence of witchdoctors that stems from Guaraní or African legends. People come from across the country to lose themselves in the carnival madness. It's easy to go up to Gualeguaychú for the weekend from Buenos Aires, but make sure you book accommodation far in advance, or simply stay up dancing all night with everyone else!
Two weeks ago, we attended the most important annual event in Unquillo – Los corsos de Unquillo. During the first fortnight of February, this small tranquil town of Cordoba province explodes into fiesta to celebrate Carnival!
Each weekend many parades and contests, which include those of wagons, disguises, musical bands and male and female beauty pageants going for the titles of Mister and Miss Corsos Unquillo , were held all night long. The whole of Unquillo and surrounding towns came together at the doble avenida to watch the ingenuity, colour and will developed in the making of each costume and of each wagon.
No one would want to miss this party though you should always enter the doble avenida armed with a foam can or two. Indeed, as we got through the entrance of the festival, some of us felt something wet land on their arm, leg or even face. After looking around a second time we see that that the whole street is covered with foam and hundreds of people are spraying each other everywhere. After buying a couple of cans, Projects Abroad volunteers fought their way through the crowd to the end of the street where there was an art crafts market. We soon left the safe haven of the feria and dove back into the mass of foam sprayers to get some food.
Through all the length of the doble avenida people get mingled with the wagons, the “feather girls”, the drummers and the murga dancers. Murga is a type of brazilian dance that is danced to a fast beat of drums in the streets. It is great to watch and much more lively than the more famously known tango. Finally at around two in the morning, all sticky and wet from the foam, we headed back to our warm beds.
An event that you should not forget to write down in your agenda for February is the 11th edition of the Cosquin Rock Festival that will be taking place from the 11th to the 13th of February in Comuna San Roque. It gathers both famous and new rock bands of Argentina, along with select international artists from mostly Spanish-speaking countries like Spain, Mexico and Uruguay. It is one of the most popular rock music festivals in the country with more than 120,000 people attending each year.
(For more information: www.cosquinrock.com)
Carlos Paz and Love
Another important festival that takes place on February 18th & 19th is the fourth edition of the Carlos Paz & Love festival in Carlos Paz. During two days the city slows down and is swept up in a rhythmic experience with the arrival of bands, artists, stylists and of course lovers of the reggae culture music.
Les vacances d’été commencent pour plus d’une centaine d’enfants et adolescents de divers instituts de Cordoba. Nous sommes sept volontaires à être affectés dans ce camp de vacances, pour accompagner et encadrer ces enfants, travailler en collaboration avec les professeurs et les accompagnateurs des instituts, ainsi qu’aider pour diverses autres tâches notamment le service en cuisine. En tant que volontaires, nous avons été très bien accueillis et présentés comme membres du staff et moniteurs prêts à aider pour quoi que ce soit et disponibles pour tous les enfants de la colonie.
Cette première semaine est passée à une vitesse éclair. Les matinées étaient dédiées à des activités parfois sportives (jeux en équipes, promenades, tournois de ping-pong) ou encore manuelles (dessin, plasticolor, argile/modelage). Tous les après-midi, on s’est tous rendus au fleuve situé en contrebas de cet incroyable espace de verdure. L’eau y est vraiment très chaude et tous les jours pendant plus de deux heures, les enfants s’amusent inlassablement sans jamais sortir de l’eau.
Même si peu d’enfants s’expriment à ce sujet, ils ont l’air heureux ici et surtout libres. Loin de la ville et au milieu de la nature, j’ai été particulièrement étonnée de la liberté qui leur était laissée ici. Libres de parcourir cet immense parc qui forme la colonie, on les sent détendus et il me semble qu’ils savent profiter pleinement de la confiance qui leur est accordée. D’ailleurs, tous les soirs, avant l’extinction des feux, d’eux-mêmes, ils mettent la musique dehors et dansent avec entrain. Nous sommes également toujours de la partie. Et lorsque l’on annonce qu’il est temps de dormir, en cinq minutes, tout le monde est rendu dans son dortoir, avec très peu de réticents.
On peut également ressentir tout l’amour qu’ils se portent les uns envers les autres entre enfants, adolescents de tous instituts confondus. Ils savent également nous montrer combien ils ont besoin d’affection. Dès les premiers instants, dès les premiers contacts avec eux, ils n’hésitent pas à vous serrer dans les bras ou vous prendre la main. Ils semblent avoir saisi que nous sommes là pour eux, pour leur sécurité mais aussi pour leur donner toute l’affection dont ils ont besoin. Petit à petit, au fil des jours, ils s’habituent à nous et nous à eux. On essaye d’être au plus à leur écoute, de les faire sourire voire même rire, autant que possible, d’intervenir dès qu’ils deviennent agressifs en tentant de donner quelques explications en espagnol. Au fil des semaines, j’imagine que nous allons tisser des liens assez forts avec ces enfants. C’est ainsi que de moniteurs étrangers nous allons je l’espère devenir des personnes sécurisantes et de confiance auprès desquelles ils pourront se référer, se confier et avec qui ils auront pu s’amuser et profiter pleinement de ce mois de vacances hors de la ville, hors des problèmes.
The Alta Gracia childhood home of the South American revolutionary idol, Che Guevara, is a museum charting Guevara's life from his youth to his early death. Photos, letters and exhibits reveal fascinating snippets of the famous Argentine's life.
Thirty kilometres south of Córdoba lies the friendly town of Alta Gracia. Not only is the town surrounded by lush, undulating valleys and hills that invite the traveller for a hike or a ride on horseback, Alta Gracia is first and foremost known for an ancient Jesuit Estancia and a museum centered around Ernesto Che Guevara's life.
The South American revolutionary idol Ernesto Che Guevara was born in Rosario in 1928, but moved to Alta Gracia as a child after the doctors diagnosed him with asthma. The picturesque house at Avellaneda 501 was built in 1911 and named after the youngest daughter of the first owner of the house, Nydia, but the name was changed into Villa Beatrix after Che Guevara's family moved in. Guevara lived here from 1935-1937 and 1939-1943. The second house in Alta Gracia where the family lived is just down the road, on number 14.
In 2001 Villa Nydia opened its doors as "Museo del Che Guevara" and is considered a heritage site by Alta Gracia. It is one of the seven homes where the Guevara family lived and currently houses Argentina's best museum on Che's life – for example, in Buenos Aires are at least two other museums of Che Guevara, but their collections are much less complete.
Arroz con pollo – literally rice with chicken – is another one of those meals that we want when we crave a good home cooked meal. Like so many other South American dishes it has many variations from one country, region, city or home to another. The ingredients, besides the rice and chicken, will differ from one family’s recipe to another or simply based on what one has in their refrigerator or pantry.
3 lbs chicken, assorted pieces
1 tbs achiote powder
1 tbs ground cumin
½ tbs ground coriander
10 garlic cloves, crushed
2-3 tbs oil or butter
1 white onion, diced, about 2 cups
2 celery stalks, finely diced
4 roma tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 cup beer or white wine
1 to 1 ½ cup water or broth
2 cups rice
2 medium carrots, diced
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
3 tbs finely chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper
From the XIX century and with the arrival of immigrants from different places, new artistic offers of opera and Spanish operetta arrived to the city, coming into light the lack of appropriate infrastructure for such performances which until then had a place in modest spaces.
The dream of having a coliseum measuring up to the best in Europe was becoming a reality little by little. The choice of the plot of land over the “Wide Street” (Velez Sarsfield Ave.) next to the police station (Patio Olmos) and very near the poor area, generated heated criticism in the local aristocratic society which later, before the amazing building work, succumbed when the backdrop of the “New Theatre” went up for the first time on April 26th, 1891.
The magnificent design of Francisco Tamburini, who did very well with the making of Colon Theater, shows an Italian-like facade of two floors, while the interior has a basement and five levels (Stalls, high and low boxes, “cazuela”, the ornamentation and the quality disappeared. Anyway, the artistic performances were the same for the 1077 souls.
An immense amount of memories, emotions and anecdotes of Cordoba and its inhabitants remained treasured in the Theater: weddings of distinguished figures, gifts to presidents, dancing, vigils and the historical greeting of the Symphony Orchestra playing “The fire dance” from the staircase, when Manuel De Falla’s funeral went past. They are part of the history of this house that today doesn’t demand any etiquette or double last name to go in. But remember, when the performance starts don’t ask why the initial letters of Libertador San Martin are “R.I”.
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