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Festival Nacional de Joropo

The quintessential expression of life on the Llanos is the Joropo, both a musical genre and a dance form. The music is played on a harp, bandola (similar to the mandolin) and cuatro (a small, four-string guitar), with a continuous beat kept up by maracas. The songs’ couplets speak of love, life, loss and adventures. During the dance, women’s full skirts swirl as men stomp to the rhythm. The music is a mix of the people who populate the Llanos: indigenous, European and African.

Every year, contestants arrive from all over Colombia and Venezuela for the Festival Nacional de Joropo, which started in 1960. For a week, which spans from the end of June to the beginning of July, Villavicencio’s streets fill up with competitions in musical performance, dance and poetry. There are also beauty pageants and horse shows, arts and crafts exhibits, and a gastronomic fair.

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

30 Aug 2011

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