TALE OF TWO SISTER CITIES OPENS NEW CHAPTER:
URUGUAYAN CANDOMBE MUSIC ON ITS WAY TO MINNESOTA
MONTEVIDEO, Minn. – Uruguayan master drummer Álvaro Salas, of Montevideo, Uruguay, will visit Minnesota this summer, bringing the 200-year-old tradition of Afro-Uruguayan “candombe” music and drumming to Montevideo, Minn., for the first time.
Salas will present a candombe drumming clinic, discussion and performance June 10 in Minneapolis in collaboration with candombe scholar Cliff Sutton, Ph.D., of Delray Beach, Fla., and musician Andy Stermer, of Montevideo, Minn. Salas will also lead Minnesotan musicians in the first ever “llamada” drum and dance performance through the streets of Montevideo in the town’s annual Fiesta Days parade.
Salas’ visit is sponsored by the nonprofit organization Partners of the Americas, and coincides with the organization’s 50th anniversary. The local chapter, Minnesota-Uruguay Partners of the Americas, has been active since the national organization was founded in 1964, though the relationship between the sister cities of Montevideo, Minn., and Montevideo, Uruguay, dates back to 1905.
With a grant from Partners, Stermer traveled to his hometown’s sister city in January 2014 to study Afro-Uruguayan candombe drumming and music, where he was a student of Salas. Candombe is a cultural heritage, music and dance native to Uruguay, with African roots, based on the rhythms of three drums: “chico”, “piano” and “repique”. With the help of funds donated by arts supporters in Montevideo, Minn., and the surrounding communities, Stermer returned to Minnesota with three artisan-made candombe drums.
In collaboration with Sutton, a 2011 Fulbright Scholar to Uruguay who also worked with Salas, Stermer and Salas will present a candombe drumming clinic, performance and discussion on June 10 at Studio Mbili in North Minneapolis at 7:30 p.m., in addition to other performances and events during Fiesta Days weekend in Montevideo, June 13-15. “Chippewa Candombera”, a Uruguayan-style “comparsa” of drummers and dancers, performs June 15 at 1 p.m. in the Fiesta Days parade in Montevideo.