Day 9 in Bogotá - Herencias Performs at Community Meeting

Tonight I attended a community meeting which featured a musical performance by Herencias, a group of young musicians from Academia Llano y Joropo. The harpist, 15-year-old Sergio, and the maraquista, 14-year-old Tatiana, are the children of Hildo and Marga, my hosts. The cuatrista is 13 years old, the electric bassist, 15, the singer about the same age. I had heard them practicing at ALJ, a couple of nights earlier. At the performance, they were sensational!

The meeting was to promote energy conservation; it was labled Apagon Ambiental, which could be translated as “big turn-off.” The audience was well around 200 people, including many children. It was sponsored by the City of Bogotá and Colombian secretariats of environment and health.

The program was a mix of teaching and entertainment. Much of the program consisted in calling folks up from the audience to answer questions about various environmental and energy issues. For example, one was asked what is the national tree; when they could not answer, they were coached. Another asked about the eucalyptus trees which grow here : where did they come from? Answer: Australia. The default question was “what can you do to save energy” and the standard answer was to turn of lights, etc.

Everyone who was called up was coached, if necessary, and eventually was rewarded with a package of compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Herencias came on stage in full costume, the boys in traditional black jackets, the girls with bright skirts. After two songs, an instrumental joropo began, and folks from the audience were encouraged to dance. Hildo's wife Marga, her sister, and others from Academia were among the dancers.

It is perhaps worth noting that this neighborhood, and the audience, appear to be solidly middle-class. It is not elite, but is situated near a large green space, Bosque San Carlos, where many Bogotanos go to walk, jog, and use exercise machines which have been installed for the public.

With Herencias, and with all musicians at ALJ, the performance standard is extremely high.

(NOTE: I know the picture is wrong, I will try to fix it tomorrow or do better next time.)