Anónimas & Resilientes (Voces del Bullerengue) is nominated for Best Recording Package at the 62nd GRAMMY Awards.
We receive this recognition as a tribute to the anonymous and resilient voices of bullerengue. The ancestresses whom—amid extreme marginalization—used their voices as a medium to poetically resist the oppressive social order and to transmit their collective consciousness into the future.
We thank every person involved in making this record possible. People who allowed us to uncover and project —through our musical production, academic research, and graphic arts —the great artistic wealth of bullerengue performers as well as some of the problematics of historical and political marginalization that affect Afro-descendant populations in the Colombian Caribbean.
These honors are a testament that bullerengue can draw both transgenerational and transcultural appreciation, from the anonymous ancestral voices of the past to the current bearers of the tradition, passing through to producers, musicians, engineers, designers, artists, managers, journalists, academics, communities, and global audiences.
Chaco World Music presents Anónimas & Resilientes (anonymous and resilient). Based on musical production, ethnomusicological research and graphic arts, the project brings to light the ancestral sound in resistance of seven voices, heirs of countless ancestras (ancestresses) who died in oblivion through the more than 300 year history of bullerengue
Coming from four villages and for the first time recorded, these voices prove that bullerengue music is a medium with social and psychological functions that has allowed its bearers to adapt to adverse marginalization while resisting, recovering and projecting to the future ontologies based on the respect for life, nature, and ancestral land.
Bullerengue is an Afro-descendant tradition of singing and dancing led by elderly women in the Colombian Caribbean. Because of its marginal roots, its history was invisible to the mainstream cultural industries of Colombia since colonial times until the late 20th-century. Notions of the genre with simplistic commercial formulas permeated the regional market in the 1980s. Only until the late 1990s, Petrona Martínez pioneered the recording of bullerengue with its traditional instrumentation as she emerged in the European world music market.
To date, bullerengue continues to survive in the marginalized and rural Caribbean region with a scarce discography of limited circulation. Despite the political, racial, and economic marginalization of the region, Petrona Martínez and Magín Díaz have achieved international recognitions including Latin GRAMMY® nominations, and in the case of Diaz, the gratification of two GRAMMY® awards (US and Latin).
Anónimas & Resilientes emerged from a dream of Petrona Martínez (b.1939). She longed to organize a rueda de bullerengue (local jam) like those of her ancestresses, yet she believed that elderly singers in the Canal del Dique region were a matter of the past. Manuel García-Orozco (a.k.a Chaco), the music producer behind the recent achievements of Martínez and Díaz, undertook the search of bullerengue voices in the countryside.
Along with percussionists Guillermo Valencia and Janer Amarís, Chaco brought together Voces del Bullerengue, seven voices who had lived in anonymity until now: Juana Rosado (b.1939) from Evitar; Fernanda Peña (b.1929?) and Antonio Berdeza (b.1929) from San Cristóbal del Trozo; Juana del Toro (b.1938) from San José de Playón; and Mayo Hidalgo (b.1956), Rosita Caraballo (b.1966), and Jaiber Perez Cassiani from María la Baja.
The album was recorded in the community recording studio in Palenque-Colombia, the first free town of the Americas. The production had the inextricably obstacles of the region’s marginalization, such as blackouts due to unstable electricity and the lack of crossable roads to San Cristobal del Trozo.
In addition to the musical performances, the album presents a booklet with the research which grounded the project, and the autobiographical accounts of each voice. The hand-made package, printed using serigraphy art and risography, was illustrated by Luisa Maria Arango and designed by Cactus Taller—the design team behind the colorful artwork of El Orisha de la Rosa—.
Anónimas & Resilientes is available on digital platforms and as CD through CD Baby. The research will also be published at bullerengue.com, an educational platform through which the producer shares his creative projects and research.
Voces del Bullerengue are:
Juana Rosado (Evitar 1939)
Fernanda Peña (San Cristóbal 1929)
Juana del Toro (San José de Playón 1938)
Mayo Hidalgo (María la Baja 1956)
Rosita Caraballo (María la Baja 1966)
Antonio Berdeza (San Cristóbal 1929)
Jaiber Perez Cassiani (María la Baja 19??)
Janer Amarís- Alegre Drum. Claps. Tambora (1,9,10,19).
Guillermo Valencia. Llamador Drum. Claps.
Backing vocals: Cecilia Caraballo, Tibisay Viera, Yaya Blanco, Rosa Matilde Rosado.
Manuel García-Orozco- Music Director. Claps. Llamador Drum and Paliteo (3,4,13,17).