Cumbia fight….. Andres Landero and his rebels versus Vallenato from Valledupar
Most San Jacinteros don’t like their music to be called Vallenato because of deep socio political differences between the Valledupar and San Jacinto regions.
These are excerpts of an excellent thesis written by Bardo Martinez
Rythms from similar origins were played differently,also with different instrumentation : Guacharaca, Caja, Accordeon.
The origin of these set of rhythms played by this instrumentation has been said to derive from the municipality of Valledupar in the department of El Cesar. By the 1960’s the term vallenato, this music from this particular region became El Vallenato, subsequently becoming a homogenous entity which cast “accordion music from elsewhere in La Costa…as a derivative or of secondary importance. This phenomenon was created by a process of commercialization and a political project which involved elites, Vallenato musicians and composers from “La Provincia” who succeeded in splitting the dept. of Magdalena in half by creating the dept. of El Cesar as a way of politically empowering them and that region under President Lleras Restrepo. This along with the creation of El Festival de la Leyenda Vallenata in 1968 solidified “El Vallenato” as a hegemonic force in la costa which definitely overshadowed other regions and their traditions, especially as “El Vallenato” became commercialized into a nationally recognized genre.
In an interview with Rito Llerena Villalobos, Musical icon Adolfo Pacheco describes the hegemony of “El Vallenato” in la costa and the music business.
“The accordion came to everybody. Here the son: the paseo, the merengue, are played totally different. The names….the merengue was called on etype of rhythm which is more like a pasaje, or a fandango, I still know many songs like that. The vallenatos call our type of paseo acachacao”.
What Pacheco is saying is that people in San Jacinto played similar vallenato rythms, that were markedly different of course; which is ok, but the Vallenatos looked down upon them in a patronizing way because of such difference, as if their rhythms were more original and more authentic then those from San Jacinto. Pacheco then states that this hegemony that the Vallenatos pushed in amplifying their style while denigrating others, translated into commercial success for them and the recording companies that backed them. He states that, “the Vallenatos were in style because of the recording companies who logically triumphed, they sold more discs, they were better businessmen with the Vallenatos then with us.
In this way, Pacheco very clearly defined the hegemony of “El Vallenato” pushed by its intellectuals (Gabriel Garcia Marquez), and its marginalizing effects on San Jacinto and their musical culture as represented by the depreciation of his commercial success. However, throughout the testimony he reaffirms the fact that the “folclor” of San Jacinto is just as good and “pure” as that of Valledupar, and that he resented being called a “Vallenato” or its secondary pejorative, “Vallenato Sabanero21”. All this is densely packed in one of his most famous songs La Hamaca Grande, of which Landero interpreted and created the musical arrangements to. Here Pacheco describes the meaning of this song:
• what we have in San Jacinto is the Faroto Indian who played the gaita, who is just like their Francisco El Hombre22 and that I was gonna take them our folklor in a huge hammock, bigger then the biggest thing in San Jacinto, the Cerro de Maco. I was saying this in a literary manner, that I was goint to take our folclor to make the Vallenatos sing, to sway them musically on a huge hammock, that was being rocked by Andres Landero, Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto, and myself”
As Pacheco states, this song was a response to the Vallenato Festival and the hegemony which it imposed (shotguns, nafer). What Pacheco represents is the allegiance which musicians from San Jacinto, like Landero, held to their traditional cultural forms in resistance to the overbearing allegory of El Vallenato and commercialization
You can find the rest of it here:
The song entilted LA HAMACA GRANDE…..The giant hammock with which they’ll sway away the Vallenateros