Champeta is the cultural phenomenon and musical genre of independent and local origin from the African descendents in the areas in and around Cartagena de Indias, (Colombia). It is also associated with the culture of Palenque of San Basilio.
The word 'Champeta' refers to the short, curved knife of the same name, used at work, in the kitchen and as a defensive and offensive weapon in the region.
The word "Champeta" was first used as a cultural identifier in the 1920s, it was used to identify a dance in the 1970s and a musical genre in the 1980s.
Since before the 1920s, the inhabitants of the neighborhoods farthest from the center of Cartagena, those of the poorest social strata and of African descent, have been called 'champetudo'. The economic elite used this designation as an attempt to devalue this vibrant culture. The name, ambiguously accepted and transformed, originates from the relationship of these people, with the knife called "champeta", as it was associated with vulgarity, poverty and blackness. This culture has a past historically marked with slavery and mistreatment with its center in the oldest districts of the Isla Caimán, currently called Olaya, and the Pozón district.
At the beginning of the 1970s the Champeta culture became more visible at a national level in Colombia through a series of diverse and complex dances set to the rhythms of Caribbean music. This music was principally a mix of genres such as salsa and jíbaro but later included reggae. This music was played over large loudspeakers, popularly called "picós", that were invented during the 1960s in Cartegena. Equipped with these sound systems they held dancce competitions and other events. Those dances were called "therapy" because of their ability to help people relax and free themselves from the economic problems of the country.
In the 1980s "creole therapy" became a new genre of music, sung and interpreted by people from Cartegena and San Basillo, later joined by people from Barranquilla, Santa Marta and the rest of the country. Baranquilla played an important role in the commercialization of this genre of music. Subsequently, the music became popular in picós. Soon, it was known as "creole therapy", "Colombian therapy", and finally, Champeta.
The classic conception of the phenomenon champeta is centered in the existence of four aspects or “columns” of the culture: champeta music (or Therapy), the Benbocata (or slang), Picó (or pick-up), and the perreos (or celebrations). There are some who give the same importance to other aspects, as the dance, the political activism, the design of the clothes, and the rest of cultural elements.
Music Champeta or “Therapy Creole”
It has been a contemporary rate that was born for 26 years in the city of Cartagena de Indias (Colombia) with a great influence of palenque San Basilio and which through the encounter of Music of the Caribbean of the, years 80 that were made in Cartagena it extended soon at national level and influenced reciprocally in similar international sorts like the Reggaeton. I generate Therapy was born like an adaptation of African rates (soukous, highlife, mbquanga, juju) with Antillean vibrations (rap-raggareggae, Haitian compas, French Antillean zouk, soca and calypso) and influences of descending music of the native and afrocolombians (bullerengue, mapalé, zambapalo and small canoe). This fusion of rates formed a new urban musical culture in the Caribbean context that consolidated in the cartagenins quarters in the middle of the Eighties. Soon in the nineties it underwent a series of changes as much in its contents, as in its music, accompanied by digital phenomen, plates (arrhythmic interventions) and as much being loved as rejected by the sectors elites of the country, generating therefore I generate differentiated from its origins enough that inspired it.
In his beginnings one spread through the powerful equipment of sound denominated tips (of pick-up) that sound in the clubs or houses. It is characterized because the rhythmical base prevails over the melodics and harmonic lines, turning it a musical dance expression in which an overflowing force and a plasticity predominate. The instruments used in the execution of this glad and contagious rate are the electrical voice, battery, guitars, the low one, congas, and the sintetizer, which add rhythmical effects.
This musical genre has like unique element of a division temporary of three accelerations, initial music, the choir and a third called element the Despeluque, that is own of strong and repetitive rates accompanied generally by plates (digital interventions).
With a popular and full language of inventive the champeteros sing its experiences. The letters, superposed to African tracks or with original music, demonstrate the disobedience attitude of the discriminated Afro-Americans sectors, that attack against the social and economic exclusion to tell their dreams of change and progress.
The Champeta at the moment has the called Hymn "I am Champetúo of Michel" who speaks of the pride of being people champeta and of problematic on the stratification and its history.
The Dj Chawala of the King de Rocha in the video, like part protagonist of this culture, is part of the Regional Hall Artists 2007 Bad Hall Eye, thanks to the intellectual support and of investigation titled the Polarization of the Champeta of the artist Rafael Escallón Miranda on this culture and its manifestations, who as much in this as in previous occasions has developed manifest champetudos plastics, related to the communication, the policy and the relation of this culture with the characteristic of weapon-like the transgressor or contestatario, it's important work but alludes to the tips and PIKÓ TOTEM is titled becoming in year 2005 leaves from the collection Permanent of the Museum of Modern Art of Cartagena and where, in 2006, she was awarded a spot in the Hall Art and Sport of the American Games Center and the Caribbean Cartagena of Indies.
In the cinema
The Film Brigands of its director Erlyn Salgado of Palenquero-Cartagenero origin was recognized like the first filmic manifestation of this Champeta culture. This film obtained diverse mentions in the Festival the International of Cinema, was doubled to the Portuguese and was Vista by all the Latin American countries and until European by the Pirate market. This production was also recently made a part of the Bad Hall Eye of the Regional Halls Colombia.
The musicians of Champeta are Michel, the Afinaíto, the Sayayín, Charles King, the Pupy, the Jhonky (D.E.P.), Elio Boom, Mister Black, the enchantment, Alvaro “the Barbarian”, the Papo Man, Luis Towers, the Yao, Ito “the untouchable one”, Boogaloo, Dogardisc, Melchor Torres, the Pupy, Charles King, the Pitu, the Chano…, whereas others, like Elio Boom, have incorporated music of jamaicadel raggamuffin to the champeta.
- RAFAEL ESCALLÓN (2007), LA POLARIZACIÓN DE LA CHAMPETA. Investigación que motivó el reconocimiento de esta cultura y de este genero en el Salón Regional y Nacional de Colombia., 1, ROZTRO - MUSEO DE ARTE MODERNO DE CARTAGENA
- ABRIL, Carmen; SOTO, Mauricio (2004), Entre la champeta y la pared. El futuro económico y cultural de la industria discográfica de Cartagena, Bogotá: Observatorio del Caribe Colombiano, Convenio Andrés Bello, ISBN 958-698-149-5 Documento en PDF
- NICOLÁS R. CONTRERAS HERNÁNDEZ (2002), CHAMPETA-TERAPIA: UN PRETEXTO PARA REVISITAR LAS CIUDADANÍAS CULTURALES EN EL GRAN CARIBE, Ensayo Único, Comfamiliar
- Elisabeth Cunin (2003), IDENTIDADES A FLOR DE PIEL. Lo "negro" entre apariencias y pertenencias: categorías raciales y mestizaje en Cartagena, 1, p. 367, Instituto Colombiano de Antropología e Historia, Universidad de los Andes, Instituto Francés de Estudios Andinos, Observatorio del Caribe Colombiano, Bogotá., http://www.lablaa.org/blaavirtual/publicacionesbanrep/boletin/bole65/bole7a.htm, [El libro está constituido por una introducción, cinco capítulos, unas breves conclusiones y una extensa bibliografía especializada. "La champeta: de la etiqueta racial a la proyección en el Caribe. Lay summary]
- ADOLFO GONZÁLEZ HENRÍQUEZ (investigador musical) y CARMEN ABRIL (coautora del libro) (2005), Entre la Espada y la Pared, el futuro económico y cultural de la industria discográfica de Cartagena, 1, Convenio Andrés Bello y el Observatorio del Caribe, archived from Web the original on 2008-06-04, http://web.archive.org/web/20080604082054/www.ocaribe.org/noticias/2005/junio/champeta.htm
- CLAUDIA MOSQUERA Y MARION PROVENZAL (2000), Construcción de identidad Caribeña popular en Cartagena de Indias a través de la música y el baile de la champeta, 3, pp. 98–114
- EDUARDO RESTREPO y AXEL ROJAS, CONFLICTO E (IN)VISIBILIDAD, Retos en los estudios de la gente negra en Colombia, pag.24 ELISABETH CUNIN discográfica de Cartagena de la esclavitud al multiculturalismo: el antropólogo, entre identidad rechazada e identidad instrumentalizada, pag148, CARLOS EFRÉN AGUDELO, no todos vienen del rio: construcción de identidades negras urbanas y movilización política en colombia, pag191., 1
- Lena Hansen (2006): “Carlos You live to all rate”, in washingtonhispanic.com, vol. 2, Nº 2. Web
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