MARQUETTE, Mich.—The Northern Nights Series at Northern Michigan University will present a performance by the Colombian folk group, Cimarrón. The concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 16, in Forest Roberts Theatre. Tickets can be purchased at NMU EZ Ticket outlets or at www.nmu.edu/tickets. Prices are as follows: students/kids, $5 advance/$6 door; NMU staff/faculty/seniors 60+, $13 advance/$15 door; general public, $18 advance/$20 door. This performance is funded in part by the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs.
Cimarrón is the most accomplished llanera group in Colombia. A seven-piece ensemble led by harpist and composer Carlos Rojas, it has endured more than 20 years and performed in numerous worldwide locations. The musicians are immersed in the sounds of “los llanos.” They seek to explore and experiment with their rich heritage while retaining the essence of the tradition.
Rojas was amongst a group of Colombian musicians who accompanied Gabriel Garcia Marquez to perform at his Nobel Prize ceremony in Sweden in 1982. Cimarron’s Smithsonian album, “Si Soy Llanero,” was nominated for a Grammy in 2005.
Los Llanos Orientales are vast plains that stretch from Colombia into Venezuela. The mestizo people that inhabit these savannahs on the great Orinoco river are descendants of Spanish settlers, African slaves and Indigenous Indians. This is cattle-rearing country where life revolves around ranches. Music accompanies the daily working tasks such as milking and cattle drives. Most striking is the festive dance music called joropo, a fiercely virtuoso display of rippling melodies played on harp, bandola and cuatro accompanied by bass, cajon and maracas. This rapid and joyous music is sung with high-pitched voices reminiscent of Andalusian gypsy roots.