Artist Profiles: Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto

Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto

Representing the best of Colombia’s Afro-Indigenous culture, Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto, musical heirs to gaita music. They have been performing together for more than 50 years. Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto are masters of Colombia’s puya and porro music as well as gaita corrida. The gaita ensemble consists of two duct-flutes called gaitas (not to be confused with the Spanish gaita, which is a bagpipe), a maraca, and three drums and may contain a singer. The gaita, a wind instrument fashioned from wood, beeswax and a feather, has indigenous origins.

Los Gaiteros were created in the 1950s and now span several generations of musicians. Ranging from 60 to 85 years of age, these artists have single-handedly saved this cultural legacy, dedicating their entire lives to performing and transmitting their knowledge throughout Colombia. The music transcends social, political, and cultural boundaries making Los Gaiteros one of the best interpreters of the beauty and complexity of Colombian culture.

The vibrations of the African drums, the haunting sounds of Indigenous flutes, and the nostalgia of Spanish melodies, created what is now known as gaita, a unique sound emerging from centuries of mixing of three cultures: African slaves, indigenous groups, and Spanish settlers.

In November 2007 the band received a Best Folk Album Latin Grammy for the album Un fuego de sangre pura. Later, in 2012, Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto’s album Así tocan los indios received the colombian Premio Shock award for best folk album .

In 2014 the band collaborated with Diego Gómez and English producer Adrian Sherwood to release the experimental recording Dub de gaita.

Discography

Un Fuego de Sangre Pura (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 2006)
Así tocan los indios (2012)
Dub de gaita (2014)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.

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