Photo Feature by Elio Delgado

The Children of Vallenato

HAVANA TIMES, August 7 – In the basilica of the San Francisco de Asis monastery (located in Old Havana), the Colombian group Los Niños Vallenatos (The Children of Vallenato) performed for Cuban public on the afternoon of July 20.

The repertoire included classic works of traditional and contemporary Colombian vallenato folk music. In presenting the music, the youth were accompanied by instruments typical of the genre: the accordion, the cajon and the guacharaca.

This internationally-recognized children’s group had its origin in 1999 in Valledupar, Cesar, Colombia, when its creator and general director, maestro Andrés “The Turk” Gil Torres, conceived of it as a space for the development and expression of children training at his academy.

In this way the musical specialist and renowned accordion teacher fostered the discovery and continued development of new talent, a process he had begun several years ago, in 1979, when he was giving lessons in the courtyard of his home.

The Children of Vallenato.

In the group, made up of children between the ages of eight and fourteen, the rule is that once a child reaches their age limit, those members are replaced by other children who are studying at the accordion academy directed by the maestro.

The group’s international premiere took place in 1999 at the Washington Symphony Hall with a successful engagement that would propel them to countless cultural venues across the Americas, Europe and Asia.

Our public, which included many children, enjoyed this concert together with Colombians present to commemorate the bicentennial (1810-2010) of Colombian independence.

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