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The tribute to Escalona was held at the Cooperación Española. Photo: CFCE
The tribute to Escalona was held at the Cooperación Española. Photo: CFCE

Tribute to Rafael Escalona in Cartagena de Indias

In honor of Rafael Escalona's birthday, a talk and concert was held in the Historic Center of the city.

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This Thursday was held the narrated concert "What I learned from Professor Escalona" at the Centro de Formación de la Cooperación Española in the Historic Center of Cartagena de Indias in honor of Rafael Escalona's 96th birthday.

Escalona was a vallenato juglar, one of the greatest exponents of the genre that has been catalogued as Intangible and Cultural Heritage of Colombia. The Master composed some of the most important songs of the genre such as "La casa en el aire" or "La Golondrina", which to this day can be heard everywhere.

At the event his daughters, Carolina Escalona and Astrid Escalona, together with journalist Daniel Samper Pizano, talked about some anecdotes, stories and facts about Escalona's history through the years.

"Escalona is the symbol of Colombian folk culture. He is more than his songs, he is what those songs represent for Colombian culture," said Daniel Samper about Escalona's legacy in the country's musical culture.

Samper also mentioned that vallenato stopped being a local and regional music of the coast to be the representation of Colombian music abroad. "The most celebrated and well known" thanks to Escalona.

The journalist, who led the discussion table, told how the history of music has been linked to music, as the old minstrels sang the stories that were written frequently and this greatly influenced Escalona to "make poetry with his music".  

Carolina, the juglar's eldest daughter, said that her father made people fall in love with his lyrics and sought not only to express the love he felt for women, but also the love he wanted to receive from them.

"Escalona's stories told great stories", added his daughter, followed by the interpretation of the song "El Vallenato Nobel", a song that the Master composed when he traveled with Gabriel García Marquez to receive his Nobel Prize in Literature in Stockholm.

Yeimi Arrieta, double Vallenato Queen 2007 and 2020 and guest at the event, mentioned the value that Escalona's music has had in her life. "For me, he is the best composer that vallenata music has ever had. He has left us a legacy of the true meaning of love through his lyrics," said the artist during the presentation.

The tribute to Escalona, who is still alive in the memory of those who continue to enjoy his music every day, was filled with a lot of feeling, music, accordion and song.

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