This week record collectors from all over the country came to Bucaramanga for a convention of sorts. On Friday night they gathered at La Casa del Libro Total – a cultural space/art museum downtown. Each collector took turns playing a few 78s for the audience and we listened together to old songs by Pedro Infante, Luis Arcaraz and more. It was the loveliest event.
Last night was a FREE concert with Juan Luis Guerra at the stadium in Bucaramanga. It was free, but you needed to get ahold of a ticket to enter. Nearly every one of my friends was desperately looking for one of these elusive tickets but nobody knew where to obtain them. My roommate Andres heard that there was going to be a live radio broadcast at one of the universities on Friday morning where they would be giving away tickets. The both of us got up at 5:30 and then watched the less-than-exciting news broadcast for a few hours, waiting for one of these tickets we had come to get. A famous Colombian comedian Don Jediondo showed up and started selecting audience members to participate in a contest for Juan Luis Guerra tickets. Thanks to my exotic gringa nationality I was chosen to participate in the contest with 5 other girls. After being subjected to loads of ribbing during a short interview with this merciless comedian and a runway walk in front of 300ish people I got my tickets.
I went to the concert with Andres and two other friends. The first performer was the vallenato singer Martin Elias. Vallenato is a type of music that comes from the Caribbean coast of Colombia and is very beloved here in Bucaramanga. I had never quite warmed up to this type of music, but I think seeing it live has won me over.
Next was a special surprise: A Marc Anthony impersonator from Colombia. It was a treat to finally hear a live salsa band and the singer did a spot-on impersonation of Marc Anthony.
And at last Juan Luis Guerra started his set! I remember learning the lyrics to ‘El Niagara en Bicicleta’ with Senora Atencio in high school Spanish class. It’s interesting to think that at the moment I was sitting in Spanish class filling in the missing lyrics to this song on a worksheet I never imagined I would be listening to him sing that song live at a concert in Colombia. His set was incredible! All 6,000 people in the stadium were dancing from start to finish.