Our adventures in Zapatoca began as soon as we arrived. After hearing some of Jenny’s songs, our hosts Armando and Sonia organised a series of concerts, impromptu performances and jam sessions. Before we knew it, Jenny was a little musical celebrity in Zapatoca, even making hospital visits to play a few songs for a friend who was getting treatment for his injured finger.
The new friends, music and culture we found in Zapatoca made it one of the richest and most memorable experiences so far on this trip. Our hosts went out of their way to show us a good time. In addition to musical encounters, we got into the routine of checking out Sonia’s progress on her latest paintings after our morning hikes with Armando and their dog ‘EQ’.
After 10 days in Zapatoca, we left our new home with better perspective on what we want to get out of our trip, in particular, immersion in music and culture of the new places we visit.
Tambora Rejos Zapatoca
Tambora Rejos (Tentacle Drums) have been long been entertaining Zapatoca with their quirky mix of folkloric tambora, campesino and a dash of tongue in cheek. We had the pleasure of hanging out with them at the house of Reynaldo, a good friend of Armando and Sonia.
Reynaldo’s house is filled with amazing folkloric musical instruments, paintings, artifacts and … an incredibly elaborate biblical nativity village!
Jamming With The Zapas
Armando and Sonia invited a local four piece band over to the house for a little impromptu concert. They began by taking turns with Jenny, alternating traditional Andean songs with Jenny’s original songs. It then turned into a jam session when Jenny joined the band with some vocal improv!
We met a local percussionist and school teacher who invited us to come visit his school band rehearsal just for a laugh. Then he insisted I take over on the drums!
Los Hermanos López
After the concert, we were ushered to a sort of ‘after party’, a private performance by the headline act: Los Hermanos López.
The López Bros have been playing together for 25 years. They are well known throughout Colombia and the winners of several awards including the 2011 National Award for Best Duet of Colombian Andean Music. Their repertoire fuses spicy Criollo humor, bambuco rhythms and traditional Andean sounds.
For many Colombianos, their music exemplifies the strength of the Colombian musical tradition. They come from the historical town of Charalá in the Santander Department, part of a large family of well-known traditional Colombian musicians and influenced by the Escuela Martinez.
Angelmiro Lopez: lead vocal and guitar (center)
Domingo Lopez: second vocal and Colombian tiple (left)
She Paints The Town
Most of our mornings in Zapatoca began with a ritual bogotano hot chocolate. Shortly thereafter, Sonia would head out the door with her paint pots and brushes to continue painting the town. Over the past year, she has been transforming some otherwise boring electricity meter panels into works of art on the houses around Zapatoca. In each of her paintings, she aims to capture unique characteristics of each house’s inhabitants.