The Accordion Kings:

FRIDAY, November 13. 6 pm. Holton Career & Resource Center. City of Durham. Durham, NC

 Community Connects Series

"The Accordion Kings:..." (2008)



Every ten years the “king of kings” is crowned at the annual Festival Vallenato in Valledupar (a city on the Caribbean coast of Colombia). This documentary film is about that rhythm that has become the label for many of the successful contemporary pop-musicians in Colombia (Shakira, Carlos Vives, Cabas, among others). It is called vallenato (from el Valle de Upar), the soulful music of Colombia's Caribbean coast.

The film tells the story of the traditional beat at the heart of Latin America’s richest music, featuring an exclusive interview with pop star Carlos Vives and behind-the-scenes footage of the legendary Vallenato Festival. In Colombia’s northern Magdalena Valley, "valley music" is the rage and the accordion is king. Now, valley music's rural sentiment, straightforward message, and danceable rhythms have invaded the city, and pop megastars such as Carlos Vives have taken its sounds to millions of fans around the world. Even mega pop stars Shakira and Gloria Estefan have fused this rhythm into their songs. Música vallenata was born in the region where Gabriel García Márquez drew his inspiration. It’s a place where small children learn to play the accordion at their father’s knee while hundreds of professional practitioners, sometimes several generations of accordeoneros in the same family, perform dazzling feats of musical prowess at social events and duel for bragging rights at annual festivals.

Produced by the Smithsonian Network in 2008

Spanish and English with subtitles


Presented by Monica Lee Bellais, Smithsonian Network

Q & A to follow.




SOY ANDINA, Mitchell Teplitsky (Peru-USA, 2009). 70 min.

The dazzling story of two women raised in different worlds — an immigrant folk dancer from the Andes, and a modern dancer from Queens, NY — who return to Peru to reconnect with roots and an astonishing world of traditional dance and celebration.

After 15 years in New York, Nelida Silva returns to her birthplace in the Andes to fulfill a lifelong dream and host the fiesta patronal — an 8-day celebration of dance, music, and rituals from Incan times. But Neli's changed, and so has the village. What's it like to go back to the Andes when you've become a New Yorker?

Meanwhile: Cynthia Paniagua, a dancer raised in Queens by a Peruvian mom, embarks on her own Peruvian journey after meeting Neli — determined to "quench a burning desire to know the real Peru, to unearth the mystery of the dances." Does she find what she's looking for? Well, you'll have to see the movie! Soy Andina is an exuberant cross-cultural road trip, bursting with traditional music and dance rarely seen outside the country. But the core story is intimate and universal: a yearning for roots and connection in turbulent times.

English and Spanish with subtitles