To the beat of the drums, Uruguayans celebrate San Baltasar

With loaded parade of their color and rhythm drumsCelebration of Uruguay’s comarasas Saint Balthazarwhere tradition prevails over the typical carnival “Calls” competition, which takes place in February.

in Montevideo Almost empty for the summer holidays, the sunset turns the sky orange and gives rise to the ancient ritual: in the corner A roundDrums appear.

These are the groupings of the comparsas, distinct groups of the Uruguayan candombe, which, in the run-up to the ‘Llamadas de San Baltasar’, practice their rhythm for ‘traditionFrom that premiere inherited from colonial periodwhen you are in Kings Day African slaves celebrated this saint.


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This is brought out during a rehearsal by the string leader the faceAlexander Curtis, who explains the difference between this case and the Classic Calls instance, which will meet this year on February 10 and 11.

“One is Skill The other is the more imitative, with everyone taking to the streets to celebrate because it is a celebration of San Benito and San Baltasar that has been celebrated since the beginning of Candombe, “says the hopeful party of ‘peace’ and ‘harmony'”. Similar is expressed by Uganda’s manager Rodrigo Abreu, for whom history is “very important”.

“Our group is very selected With (Calls of) San Baltasar and for the new generations who have already taken up the rituals of January 6 this is a great responsibility as we must always say present,” he points out.

However, Abreu and Cortés also hint at the preparations for February, when, in a more “organized” way and with other costumes, the Comparsas will gather for the solemn Llamadas parade.

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“We have been preparing ourselves for (the last) month AprilAbreu asserts, to which Uganda member Martin Rora adds that the slogan of his show this year will be “To Racism and Colors” and will honor social activists and Afro-Uruguayan leaders Amanda Rora and Agapeto Carrizo.

“For us, it is very important to put Squad facing these issues,” notes Roura, who explained that colors represent “diversity,” confronting racism as a structural problem that “distinguishes some people over others based on the color of their skin or ethnicity“.

Curtis says so the face He named his proposal “Ancestral 2023” in honor of the African tribes that originated the candombe and will seek to demonstrate the typical characters of comparsa in his presentation: “gramillero”, “mama vieja” and “escobillero”.

“Theme Typical characters (…) It is partly what is being lost. So they are as if three tribes are protecting, there is a tribe of warriors, one of hunters and the royal guard,” he describes who highlights that a distinct rhythm will accompany the show where “plays aroundIn addition to the bass.

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