Candombe

Candombe

Recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, it is a cultural manifestation originated from the arrival of slaves from Africa.

In the second half of the 18th century, the Port of Montevideo was the only entry point for enslaved Africans to the Viceroyalty of Río de la Plata.

At the end of that century, 35% of Montevideo's population was of African descent. In their time of freedom, they recreated rites from their ancient land, and around 1800 these celebrations were known as tangos or tambos.

The term “candombe” dates from 1830. Today candombe is performed in the street, mainly on weekends and holidays. It is a meeting place to play the drum, dance or simply listen the music accompanying the procession.

The rhythm of candombe is transmitted through “comparsas”, groups made up of a group of drums and a dance troupe. The group of drums is made up of three types of drums: piano, repique and chico. In front of the group of drums, there is the dance troupe, the ancestral characters (“mama vieja”, “escobero” and “gramillero”) and banners with the symbol of the tribe or ethnic group, giant crescents, stars and flags.

Two important events related to candombe are held in the city. One on January 6 where the drums commemorate the Day of Saint Baltasar or “Llamadas de Reyes”. The other on the first Thursday and first Friday of February when the “Llamadas” Parade takes place, which goes through the traditional Sur and Palermo neighborhoods.

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