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Colombian musicians take on the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

Members of the ensemble Agrupación Changó pose for a photo outside the Colombia Cultural Exchange Pavilion. (Courtesy of Betto Arcos)
Members of the ensemble Agrupación Changó pose for a photo outside the Colombia Cultural Exchange Pavilion. (Courtesy of Betto Arcos)

The annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is back this weekend for a second round this year.

Founded in 1970, it’s one of the largest music festivals in the U.S.; about 250,000 people attended the first weekend for their fill of great food and outstanding music. This year, nearly 200 artists from Columbia are playing the festival thanks to a cultural exchange with the South American country.

Attending the festival has been on music journalist Betto Arcos’ list for years — but this year’s guest country finally pushed him to go. He watched performances from groups like Agrupación Changó, an 11-piece ensemble from the port city of Tumaco.

“The Pacific coast of Colombia, it’s important to note that this is a region that has suffered and endured a lot of violence for decades,” Acros says. “Despite the difficulties, the Afro-Colombian communities have managed to resist and flourish culturally, especially with music.”

Music from the segment

Jacobo Velez y La Mambanegra

Jacobo Velez y La Mambanegra performing at the Colombia Cultural Exchange Pavillion. (Courtesy of Betto Arcos)

Gaita Loop

Gaita Loop performing at the Rhythmpourium Tent. (Courtesy of Betto Arcos)

Kombilesa Mi performing at the Colombia Cultural Exchange Pavilion. (Courtesy of Betto Arcos)

Joaquín Pérez y su Herencia Ancestral

Joaquín Pérez y su Herencia Ancestral in front of the Colombia Cultural Exchange Pavilion at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. (Courtesy of Betto Arcos)

Agrupación Changó

Agrupación Changó performing at the Colombia Cultural Exchange Pavilion at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. (Courtesy of Betto Arcos)

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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