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Granite Falls Advocate Tribune - Granite Falls, MN
  • Uruguayan Candombe music on the way

  • Uruguayan master drummer Álvaro Salas, of Montevideo, Uruguay, will visit Minnesota this summer, bringing the 200-year-old tradition of Afro-Uruguayan “candombe” music and drumming to Montevideo, Minn., for the first time.
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  • Uruguayan master drummer Álvaro Salas, of Montevideo, Uruguay, will visit Minnesota this summer, bringing the 200-year-old tradition of Afro-Uruguayan “candombe” music and drumming to Montevideo, Minn., for the first time.
     
    Salas will visit Montevideo during Fiesta Days weekend, June 13-15. During his stay, Salas will present a community drumming workshop, perform will local singer-songwriters, and lead musicians and dancers from Minnesota, Uruguay, Florida, and Argentina in the first ever “llamada” drum and dance performance through the streets of Montevideo in the Fiesta Days parade.
     
    Salas’ visit is sponsored by the nonprofit organization Partners of the Americas, and coincides with the organization’s 50th anniversary. The local chapter, Minnesota-Uruguay Partners of the Americas, has been active since the national organization was founded in 1964, though the relationship between the sister cities of Montevideo, Minn., and Montevideo, Uruguay, dates back to 1905.
     
    With a grant from Partners, musician Andy Stermer, of Montevideo, Minn., traveled to his hometown’s sister city in January 2014 to study Afro-Uruguayan candombe drumming and music, where he was a student of Salas. Candombe is a cultural heritage, music and dance native to Uruguay, with African roots, based on the rhythms of three drums: “chico”, “piano” and “repique”. With the help of funds donated by arts supporters in Montevideo, Minn., and the surrounding communities, Stermer returned to Minnesota with three artisan-made candombe drums. Stermer says he looks forward to sharing the new drums and powerful rhythms of candombe with his hometown community. “It’s going to be a historic weekend,” said Stermer.
     
    In collaboration with Cliff Sutton, Ph.D., of Delray Beach, Fla., a 2011 Fulbright Scholar to Uruguay who also worked with Salas, Stermer and Salas will present a hands-on community drumming workshop on June 13 at Java River Café in Montevideo at 7:30 p.m. They will perform candombe fusion music with local musicians Emily Wright and Malena Handeen on June 14 in Lagoon Park at 11:30 a.m. “Chippewa Candombera”, a Uruguayan-style “comparsa” of drummers and dancers, performs June 15 at 1 p.m. in the Fiesta Days parade in Montevideo.
    More next week in the American-News.

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