Bullerengue is the roots music of the Caribbean coast of Colombia. It is song, dance, storytelling – a vehicle for celebration and the transmission of knowledge from generation to generation among Afro-Caribeños. It is passed down from woman to woman, like a family heirloom, containing all the wisdom of its ancestors in its rhythms and lyrics.
Ceferina Banquez is one of the most well-known bullerengue singers of Colombia. Growing up in the tradition, she wrote her first song, without knowing how to read or write, at the age of nine. Her story is one of incredible hardship and injustice. Born in Guamanga, in the mountains along the country’s north coast, she is one of over 8 million victims of violence who suffered at the hands of the paramilitary government. She was forced to flee for her life from her native village, together with her six children, and was displaced for 18 years.
Now back in Guamanga, there is a happiness and resilience reflected in her music and performances of an absolutely singular nature. She has won many awards throughout her career and traveled the world; but through it all she has never abandoned farming in her village, with hands in the earth and a song on her lips.
Ceferina Banquez travels very far this July to join us at Bombyx for an unforgettable evening with her eight-piece ensemble.