Candombe is the generic name given to various dances of African origin in Uruguay, and is born from the combination of more than twenty African people who were brought as slaves to the Southern Cone region. Each of these had their language, their way of being, look and feel, its culture, its dances and songs of different nature: sacred or profane, festive or mournful, etc.
The candombe was dance and musical-religious expression of the most important and significant African group. And more: it is now one of the most eloquent musical expressions with which our country. Candombe has been so strong, deep and essential rather than have disappeared -Destination who was convicted in different historical periods of our nation survived, overcoming all barriers and repressions. It has so permeated our society that has become a cultural element that identifies Uruguay.
The candombes originating made by those Africans who were in their music and dance an outlet to the tragedy they faced, were a way to feel alive, through an intimate and intense calling for rebellion against the impositions and the subjugation they were subject.
In those moments, to meet in the Montevideo coast evoked their lives in his mother Africa, making the sea link, the link between that and them, and strengthening those traditions through their spiritual strength. On the Boards Nation, with its candombes, returned to be African. In his day summit, organized the African candombe Sundays and major holidays of New Year, Christmas, Easter, St. Benedict, Our Lady of the Rosary and St. Balthasar.
Typical Characters of the canbombe:
Survivors primeval candombes the Escobero, the Mama Vieja and Gramillero are today, along with the drums, the essence of Candombe and embody the soul of the troupe.
The old bastonero, was paramount in the early days of the groups. Was the one who directed and animated and moving his cane gave Candombe start and end. Your good work means auspiciousness to the troupe since their magical passes away bad omens; the broom opened the roads with his brush for the troupe to perform well.
His dress is characterized by leather carrying around the waist, front and back, covering his legs.
The “for good” broom broom that was faced with the broom in mourning another troupe. The winner was the one who, without missing a beat and still rotate the broom, could bring down his opponent by using the brush. According to chronicles, everything worth: pushing, tripping, elbowing.
Customize buonomía and represents wisdom and old age, so revered in native peoples. She is mother, wise and sweet grandmother. It’s carnival queen and somehow represents the Queen of Country Living.
In the past it was “wet nurse”, laundress, baker, seamstress and played a thousand trades. Every African people “moved” their cultural background, and while they did not bring books or material elements, yes transmitted, for example, through women-mothers a very different Europeanized African traditional culture. Here it is important to highlight the role played by “nannies” or “mother” who, along with milk from her breasts, they were transferring those little white children their songs, myths, and lullabies, as well as the mystique of the African culture traditions and religion.
It was the successor to the King of Country Living. The yuyero, the witch, healer incarnate into this particular character Candombe. It is the symbol of tribal life, transplanted here by those people torn from Africa over 200 years ago. At the foot of the African tradition gramillero lives; maintains some elements of African mystique as the shivering is repeatedly performed, as if entering a trance state, and is the guardian of African wisdom expressed through the weeds, grasses, Gramineae (“gramillas”) of which it takes its name: the healer with “gramillas”.
Always carry a small suitcase full of weeds that says “Doctor” or “Brujo”. His white beard and his staff, for staff, are an expression of apparent advanced age, which is the respect they have for their elders in Africa.
Candombe had an awesome instrumental richness, with the highest cultural expression of Afro-Uruguayans. Its root is uniquely African.
There were several ways to run, depending on the nation and also if it was at a ceremony in the Chamber Office or on the street. Unable to establish precisely when walking began playing. What is certain is that this Candombe was different from today.
The richness of Candombe instrumental in the room was unmatched. Because in the street, when he went in procession, or salute the authorities who gave the note were the drummers along with the typical characters, especially the bastonero or broom it was inside or outside room a real director of “orchestra” Candombe not yet troupe. But inside the room instrumental wealth increased, as candombes that were held in the “courts” Cube South or another predetermined location, which perform a fixed participation without walking.
There, in those cases, the drums were hung on a leash, called Tallinn, who crossed the right shoulder, tacuara the huesera, mate or gourd, marimba, sticks, pieces of iron were added, the Macu (ceremonial drum), which is called Bambora added. This instrument has not appeared in other documents, nor there is a description of the form and function the same.
NATIONAL DAY Celebration CANDOMBE
December 3 is considered the National Day of Candombe, the Afro-Uruguayan Cultural and 2012 Racial Equity, enshrined No. 18,059 law that, in turn, declares of national interest the initiative that establishes the commitment of the State in the development of policies promote the principles of valuation of Afro-Uruguayan contribution and the promotion of racial equality.
The celebration is held since 2006 and is organized by the House of Afro-Uruguayan culture, social and cultural not-for-profit organization that aims to promote, collect and disseminate the heritage and diverse artistic and cultural events linked to this culture the country and its valuation. Find contact and community development, the promotion of training, integration and exchange with society and cultural expressions that contribute to national identity, promotes values of solidarity opposing racism and discrimination in the general population
Three years before the establishment of the Law had been adopted the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, and in 2009 included the Uruguayan Candombe and its socio-cultural space in the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.
As part of these actions, the Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC) issued the October 28, 2010 resolution approving the 1235-1210 Advisory Group Candombe and its socio-cultural space is created.
This day is celebrated with various activities. The main event will take place in the House of Afro-Uruguayan culture, Isla de Flores 1645, Minas corner, at 18 hours.
Juliet Rada will be responsible for opening the art show that will have the participation of national authorities and related social and cultural organizations of this group. The team coordination and direction of the host institution and its president, Edgardo Ortuño, undersecretary MIEM, provide a message.
On the day a sample of artists and the book “We are Candombe” by Leonardo Mendez presented. Also performing the sounds Candombe, Biricumyamba, 3 + 2, Candombe Gala and Labor Ant groups.
For the first time the 2013 Carnival Artigas department adopts and incorporates a new modality First Call North, ie a call of candombe, the traditional Carnival Samba, the January 26, 2013.
These two expressions carnival while they may seem diametrically opposed, given the strong influence of Brazilian samba carnival Artigas, have many things in common and complementary. There are two key elements: the strong presence of -exclusiva impact for the candombe- and roots Afro rhythms.
Between 3 December 2012 and 11 February 2013 the city of Artigas party will Candombe and Carnival samba party, maximum musical expression of African roots.
Throughout the day on December 3 a number of activities are planned in the department, including the visit of the public policy coordinator for Team descendants and advisor Candombe MEC Group, and other authorities. Also act three strings of drums (piano, chiming and boy) representatives of the so-called “mothers touch” of South Neighborhoods, Palermo and Cordón. Also touches on the street, a forum for dialogue, where musicians present report on the origins of Candombe, its meaning, its rites, and the differences between touch and another will develop.
These actions are part of the role he took MEC to develop public policies dedicated to people of African descent, as the safeguarding of this heritage is a central element of our cultural identity.