Within the framework of the bicentennial of the independence of Brazil, Cali and the Colombian Pacific dress in green-yellow and, with immense generosity, baptize Brazil as the first guest country of the Petronio Álvarez Festival in its 26-year history. A symbolic gift for Brazil and the Brazilian people.
Cali, home of the festival, and the Colombian Pacific refer us to our beloved Bahia, blessed land, birthplace of Jorge Amado, Dorival Caymmi, Caetano Veloso, Maria Bethânia, Gal Costa, Gilberto Gil, Carlinhos Brown, João Ubaldo Ribeiro, among others. .
Land that becomes ilê ayé, a word that in the African language means “everyone’s house”, to receive so many immortals of Brazilian culture such as Vinicius de Moraes and Toquinho, so that they would be inspired by the Bay of All Saints and protect them in the generous arms of the orishas from Africa, resignified by faith and popular culture in their 365 churches, one for each day of the year.
The Bay of the crossing of glances: that of Yemanjá, the Goddess of the Sea and the Lord of Bonfim, where the rites are found in deep respect and harmony.
As the immortal “samba da bênção” says, “because samba was born in Bahia and if today he is white in poetry, he is too black at heart”.
Cali and the Colombian Pacific welcome Brazil with its religious syncretism, Mother Nature, her spiritual songs in life and death, and the energy of the midwives who give birth. With dance and music, to the sound of drums, marimba, shawms and violins that give rise to a mystical ritual. From afar, you can see an ancestral procession made up of Totó la Momposina, ChocQuibTown, Herencia de Timbiquí, Raíces Ancestrales, among others.
The Colombian and Brazilian peoples bring with them the magical song of ancestral Africa that lulled a nascent America to sleep with its magic, music and rhythm. The same America that for so many centuries treated the African continent with arrogance, racial superiority and without mercy.
It is impossible to forget the pain embedded in the slave ships. However, today Africa revives with all its strength, essence and soul in the various cultural manifestations of which we are proud.
The encounter between Africa and America was forever. For this reason, Brazil and Colombia, the two countries with the most African influence in the region, will be together at the Petronio to celebrate life, brotherhood and hope, because “their race will speak the spirit” and the free song of those who , through art, cultural expressions and deep respect for historical memory, are committed to peace, freedom and solidarity among peoples.
Thank you, Colombia, for giving us so much. Thank you, Brazil, for always giving us. May Gabo and Jorge Amado celebrate in heaven and continue to inspire the leaders of America. May Vinicius de Moraes, “the blackest white man in Brazil”, bless Petronio Álvarez for all centuries. Long live Africa and its legacy in the American continent!
PS I feel very happy to celebrate my 10 years in The viewer with this column.
*Professor at the Externado University of Colombia.