His name “Enkelé” was not by chance. “It means starlight, wisdom, illumination,” explains Carolina Delgado in dialogue with the voice of americaabout the origin of her group, which is made up of eleven women who sing to their land, ancestors and machismo.
In the native Bantu language, from the Congo, in Africa, the term of the word “Enkelé” precisely means “wisdom, illumination and starlight”.
Their music is the “baile cantao”, an artistic expression of the Colombian Caribbean culture that was born as a product of the ethnic composition of the Africans who arrived as slaves in Colombia.
In traditional Afro-Colombian music, women have always been linked to the role of singer-songwriters. Beyond their role in singing, in these traditions it was always distrusted that they could interpret instruments such as the drum and the bagpipes.
“Usually the instruments are played by men and only women sang them. On this occasion we are 11 women from different parts of the Colombian territory who have dared to play these instruments”, explains the woman about her group, which will be representing the country for 2 days at the Book Fair in Cuba, which will take place from February 9 to 19 and where Colombia is the guest of honor.
With her drums, bagpipes and the millo (a flute of African and indigenous origin used in the Caribbean to liven up parties), Enkelé is in charge of giving life to these instruments and sending a message to combat machismo.
“In our presentations we talk about the importance of having spaces free of violence, which is not only machismo, that is why we want to carry these messages in our music. That is why we want to show that because we are women we can also interpret these instruments”.
It was not easy for them to start throwing themselves onto the stage, she says that when they dared to play the drum for the first time in Tamalameque, in the Colombian department of César (northeast), they were “run out of the festival because they couldn’t play the drum because they were women”.
His songs “Tierra”, “El Tambó”, “Wiwa” and “Lust”, he explains to the VOAhave helped “break down the barriers” so that women “can play these instruments.”
“We continue with that fight, now it is a little friendlier and you see more women playing the drum, the bagpipes and the millet”, he highlighted.
Finally, these artists say that with their “baile cantao” they do not propose anything other than recognizing the history of women in music and empowering future generations. “We want to invite all women of any age who dare to make their dreams come true, that everything is possible, that women can not only interpret, sing, not only dance.”
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Source: VOA Español