Tag Archives: Carnaval

Las Llamadas Parade- Desfile de las llamadas 2013

“The Llamadas Parade” is a festival that takes place every year in Montevideo in February, during the carnival season in Uruguay. It is part of the official competition of carnival groups of the Uruguayan capital. For two nights around 40 black and lubolos ensembles (known as “extras”) parade through the Southern (Barrio Sur) and (Barrio Palermo) Palermo neighborhood streets. It is one of the purest expressions of Afro-Uruguayan culture.
Carnival Week is considered the annual national festival of Uruguay. While Carnaval is celebrated throughout the country with parades and events in major cities of the interior, the main activities are featured in the capital of Montevideo.
El desfile de llamadas es una fiesta popular que se realiza todos los años en Montevideo en el mes de febrero, durante la época de carnaval en Uruguay. Forma parte del concurso oficial de agrupaciones carnavalescas de la capital uruguaya. Durante dos noches desfilan unas 40 sociedades de negros y lubolos (conocidas como “comparsas”) por calles de los barrios Sur y Palermo. Constituye una de las más puras manifestaciones de la cultura afro-uruguaya.


Murgas and Carnaval – Curtidores de Hongos 100 years

The murga “Curtidores de Hongos” made its first appearance in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1912. In 2012 they celebrated their 100th anniversary. In this video you can hear their “Retirada”.
Enjoy the show! – For more info and background see my blog ::
A traditional murga group is composed of a chorus and three percussionists and this is the type of murga performed on stages at Carnival. The singers perform in polyphony using up to five vocal parts. Vocal production tends to be nasal and loud with little variation in volume. The percussion instruments, derived from the European military band, are bombo (a shallow bass drum worn at the waist and played horizontally), redoblante (snare drum) and platillos (clash cymbals). The two most important pieces of the performance are the opening song (saludo) and the exit song (retirada or despedida). Murguistas dress in elaborate, colourful, jester-like costumes. Staging is sparse with minimal use of props. The singers tend to be foregrounded with the percussionists at the back or off to the side of the stage.

Murga is a form of popular musical theatre performed mostly in Uruguay and some in Argentina during the Carnival season. Murga groups operate in Montevideo and at the Buenos Aires Carnival, though to a lesser extent than in Montevideo. Uruguayan murga has a counterpart in Cadiz, Spain from which it is derived, the chirigota, but over time the two have diverged into distinct forms.
The Murga is performed by a group of a maximum of 17-20 people, usually men. In the months prior to Carnival, which takes place from late January to early March in Uruguay, each group will prepare a musical play consisting of a suite of songs and recitative (heightened speech) lasting around 45 minutes. This suite will be performed on popular stages in the various neighborhoods  known as tablados, throughout the Carnival period. Groups also vie against one another in a prestigious official competition.
Lyrical content is based on a particular theme, chosen by the group, which serves to provide commentary on events in Uruguay or elsewhere over the preceding year. Consequently, murga lends itself well to being used as a form of popular resistance. For example, during the dictatorship in Uruguay in the 1970s, groups like Araca La Cana became known for their left-wing tendencies, subversive commentary and positional stance.

Background and Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murga; http://www.curtidoresdehongos.com.uy/letras/2012-documental-medio-bicentenario.php; http://www.lasmurgas.com/html_07/principal_general_07.php

Las LLamadas 2012 – Carnaval Uruguay

This is a joyful, colorful event that takes place at the beginning of carnival and continues throughout (40 days). Its roots are African – Bantu, yet all Uruguayans take part in this unique popular celebration.

The main attractions of Uruguayan Carnival include two colorful parades called Desfile de Carnival (Carnival Parade) and Desfile de Llamadas (Calls Parade, a candombe-summoning parade). In this production I am showing the Calls Parade and all of its representative elements.

The ‘Calls’ groups, basically formed by drummers playing the tamboril, perform candombe rhythmic figures. Revelers also wear their festival clothing. Each group has its own theme. Women wearing elegant, bright dresses are called vedettes and provide the sensual touch to parades.
European archetypes (Pierrot, Harlequin and Columbina) merge with African ancestral elements (the Old Mother or Mama Vieja, the Medicine Man or Gramillero and the Magician or Escobero) in the local version of the festival. As a manifestation of Uruguayan culture and a growing tourist attraction, Uruguayan Carnival is currently receiving important governmental support.
Special thanks to the following http://www.flickr.com members for sharing their beautiful photography: L.A. Shooter (Leo Alvarez); Adriana Cabrera Esteve; Fotoguay

Enjoy the show,


Rio Carnaval Parade 2012

The biggest and best Carnival (Carnaval) in the world, does it again! An amazing show put on by a great people. It never stops to amaze me how rich and full of life this spectacle really is. The joy and energy, together with the artistry and pageantry is out of this world. Everybody is included in these parades, kids, men, women, all colors, races even paraplegics and disabled people parade as well.

In the southeastern cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, huge organized parades are led by samba schools. These official parades are meant to be watched by the public, while minor parades (“blocos”) allowing public participation can be found in most other cities. A real celebration of the people for the people. Each parade group “escola” displays a theme, a float, the ensemble, dancers and a unique song, together with the choreography to compete for first place in their category. I have tried in this production to recreate portions of the Rio de Janeiro parade and give the viewer a sense of “being there” in the midst of it.

Carnival is the most famous holiday in Brazil and has become an event of huge proportions. Except for industry, malls and the carnival related workers, the country stops completely for almost a week and festivities continue, day and night, mainly in coastal cities. Beer consumption accounts for 80% of annual consumption and tourism receives 70% of the annual visitors (According to Wikipedia).

Video images arte from the public domain, Internet and news broadcasts.
Special thanks to http://www.flickr.com/photos/jorgebrazil/ for his great photographs.

Enjoy the show,


For more background, history and information see ::

Candombe y Llamadas – Carnaval Uruguay

This time of the year, I miss Montevideo the most. The joy of the holiday – Carnaval – the way people forget their worries, party, enjoy life… The colors and sounds can be seen and heard through every neighborhood. A real celebration of culture, roots, friendship and integration.

As the years go by the customs, parades and performers are becoming more and more elaborate. This evolution started as a group of friends would decide to join a “Murga” and sing parodies about life, the government, soccer, etc… Nowadays the productions are very ornate, the performers travel the world as artists and the Latin communities around the world rejoice to see this happy and joyous spectacle.

When I started with the idea of producing another (had done 2 previous ones) video about Carnaval, the major impediment was to get good nighttime photographs of the Llamadas (Afro-ethnic parade). Thankfully, through the amazing virtual world of Flickr, I saw Adriana’s photos and decided to go ahead and request her permission to use the shots and begin the project. Now we are virtual friends, and share the joy of imagery and memories.

Featured on this video are primarily the groups “Yambo Kenia” and “Tronar de Tambores”, winner of the 2012 Desfile de Llamadas.

Since I have so much material left from the edits, I may take a second shot at this theme later in February.

Enjoy the festivities,

Candombe de Montevideo

Since I had plenty of material remaining from my previous production of Candombe del Uruguay, I decided to follow up with this piece. The intensity and joy of the participants, dancers and drummers is just overwhelming. Even the spectators get into it and start dancing as they feel the strong beat of the drums. While I was editing this work, I couldn’t avoid tapping my hands and feet to the contagious beat 🙂
Special thanks to Marcos Martinez and the Intendencia de Montevideo for giving me access to film.
Elements Used in this Production
Photography all @ http://www.Flickr.com: Silvilila; Vince Alongi; Libertinus; Leo Bar
Music: Macumba Night – Antonio Sacco @ MFA.com; Lonjas del Cuareim (remix)
Video: MVD TV; Isla de Flores
Digital Art, HDR, Animation: Leo Bar

Enjoy the show,

Candombe del Uruguay

Given the beginning in Uruguay of the longest celebrated carnival “Carnaval” holiday season in the world (40 days) I couldn’t help myself but put together this little production accentuating the uniqueness of these celebrations. With its contagious drum sounds “cuerdas”, characteristic dance movements, intensity and sheer sensuality, nothing beats this Candombe del Uruguay spectacle!
Enjoy the show!

I must thank several people (see below) for their generosity with their photography and videography towards this project, without which it would not have seen the light:

Elements Used in this Production:
– La Tango Candombe,
– @ http://www.Flickr.com Silvilila, Libertinos, Vince alongi, PasteldeChoclo
– Emilio Artteaga @ http://www.vimeo.com
Tronar de Tambores – Lonjas de Cuareim (remix)

History and Background:

Candombe is a musical genre that has its roots in the African Bantu, and is proper of Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil. Uruguayan Candombe is the most practiced and spread internationally and has been recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Originated from the influences of African music, was developed on both banks of the Rio de la Plata because of the large influx of slaves during the colonial period and well into the nineteenth century, and with the republican form living on both banks. Over the twentieth century Uruguayan Candombe was gradually leaving to be a unique feature of the Afro-Uruguayans to become a feature of the Uruguayan cultural identity.

Uruguayan Candombe

The music of candombe is performed by a group of drummers called a cuerda. The barrel-shaped drums, or tamboriles, have specific names according to their size and function: chico (small, high timbre, marks the tempo), repique (medium, syncopation and improvisation) and piano (large, low timbre, melody). An even larger drum, called bajo or bombo (very large, very low timbre, accent on the fourth beat), was once common but is now declining in use. A cuerda at a minimum needs three drummers, one on each part. A full cuerda will have 50-100 drummers, commonly with rows of seven or five drummers, mixing the three types of drums. A typical row of five can be piano-chico-repique-chico-piano, with the row behind having repique-chico-piano-chico-repique and so on to the last row.
Tamboriles are made of wood with animal skins that are rope-tuned or fire-tuned minutes before the performance. They are worn at the waist with the aid of a shoulder strap called a talig or talí and played with one stick and one hand.
A key rhythmic figure in candombe is the clave (in 3-2 form). It is played on the side of the drum, a procedure known as “hacer madera” (literally, “making wood”).

For more info see: