Canción de las Montañas
Song of the Mountains

A year of exciting musical events in Colombia and Wales

2019 has been designated the UNESCO Year of Indigenous Languages. Welsh is one of the oldest indigenous languages of Europe, and we want to celebrate her in every way we can. Colombia, too, is rich in indigenous languages, and the legacy of indigenous culture is felt throughout the country in a million ways. The way of life of the mountain campesinos on their small mixed farms is strikingly similar, too, the culture of the Gwerin in rural Wales. So – Cerrig Camu are going to Wales this October to perform, to learn, to make connections, and above all to make friends.

The aim of our initiative is to open channels of communication, develop understandings and collaboration, and create new opportunities for traditional musicians and audiences in rural Colombia and rural Wales. We’ll achieve this through an active cultural collaboration between traditional musicians in the two cultures. The numbers involved in this first stage will be small, keeping our footfall – economic as well as cultural – as light as possible, and creating a series of events that small rural communities can welcome with minimum disruption. We’ll be playing in a big-city folk festival, and also in mountain villages and even on farms across rural Santander.

The project is not designed to be a ‘one-off’ series of events creating an impact and soon forgotten. It will act as the best kind of benign cultural collision, and will engender new exciting encounters in the future.

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The initiative is growing through the following stages:

  • May – October 2019. An exchange of material and ideas between the musicians concerned, which will enable them to explore convergences and contrasts, shared themes and different approaches, between their two traditions. They will also be able to discuss and experiment on the opportunities to share and combine a performance.
  • October – November 2019. A short tour by three Welsh musicians; Osian Morris, Iestyn Tyne, and Gwilym Bowen Rhys, and their Colombian introducer/ translator, of two regions in rural Colombia, supported by the Colombian traditional musicians participating in the project. This will give an opportunity for the musicians to play together, to further develop their understandings of each other’s culture, to develop working friendships and to explore the responses of the audiences they address. The performances will take place in Campesino villages, indigenous communities, universities and concert halls.
  • November 2019 – July 2020. Informed and inspired by the experiences on tour, the two sets of musicians will work at distance again, developing and choreographing a shared performance which will showcase the two traditions to a Welsh audience, and form the basis of a CD recording.
  • July- August 2020. A second shared tour, this time of rural communities in Wales, will be combined with recording sessions and media opportunities.

Any initiative of this kind is as strong as its partners, whose participation, support and advice will be invaluable throughout. We cannot thank Wales Arts International enough for their support and advice – they have made this venture possible.
Others include:

  • The Arts Council of Wales
  • Fiesta Tiple en la Noche, Bucaramanga
  • The Autonomous Indigenous University of Colombia
  • Simacota Annual Festival of Culture and Sport
  • Trac
  • Theatr Felinfach

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Performances

Colombia Tour Schedule - October 2019

Date Activity Whereabouts Comments Also involved
15th-16th Travel to Colombia Birmingham - Bogota Night bus to San Gil  
17th Recuperation day Pinchote La Vega, Pinchote – between Bogota and Bucaramanga  
18th-19th Festival in Bucaramanga Bucaramanga Two days of gigging and jamming Al Pie de la Cuesta & 10 other bands
20th Barbecue and informal concert Pinchote Evening gig Al Pie de la Cuesta
21st Recuperation day Pinchote Between Bogota and Bucaramanga  
22nd–23rd Independence Day Festival Simacota (near Pinchote) Two days of gigging and jamming Al Pie de la Cuesta & other performers
24th–25th Travel back to Wales Bus to Bogota, then Bogota – Birmingham    

Wales Tour Schedule - July 26th – August 9th 2020 "To Be Confirmed"

Venues and activities to be arranged, but the tour will certainly include participation in the National Eisteddfod of Wales in Tregaron, Ceredigion.

Above all, we are determined that the initiative will not be the sort of ‘one-off’ event that flares briefly like a shooting star, creating expectations doomed to disappointment, but the beginning of a robust, sustainable and mutually respectful interaction.

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The tour before the tour

Before beginning their tour through the mountains of northern Colombia, Cerrig Camu are going on a mini-tour in our own country – partly to practice, partly to perfect the show, partly for fun - and also to raise money to help finance the trip. Here are the details of the events:

Date & time Venue
Thursday 4th July, 7.30pm Caffi Alys, Machynlleth
Sunday 10th August, 11.50am El Sueno Existe, Machynlleth
Friday 30th August, 7.30pm Yr Ysgwrn, Trawsfynydd
Thursday 12th September, 7.30pm Amgueddfa Ceredigion Museum, Aberystwyth
Friday 13th September, 7.30pm Tŷ Siamas, Dolgellau

We’d like to thank the Arts Council of Wales and Wales Arts International for their support throughout.

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What we do

Using songs, stories and poetry as our building blocks we are building a bridge between people and communities in Euskal Herria - the Basque Country - and those in Wales. Our two cultures are so similar and compatible that we hardly need to lift the stones into place. The structure just goes on growing.

Who we are

We organisers are four people from Wales and four from Euskal Herria.

Cymru

Meic Llewellyn
Osian Morris
Nicolas Davalan
Gail Jenkins

Euskal Herria

Ana Andueza
Igor Otxoa
Itziar Albes
Jurdana Martin Retegi

To find out more about us click here

We are supported by a body of creative, enthusiastic and committed volunteers across the two nations.

Contact us

phone us: +44(0)1650 511350
visit us: Ty Careg, Darowen, Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 8LW