Palenque culture #01 Palenque de San Basilio

Palenque de San Basilio is a village not far from Cartagena (Colombia) which represents a really unique cultural space. At the dawn of the17th century, several groups of african slaves escaped from spanish settlers, building fortified villages called "palenques". San Basilio village, led originally by african king Benkos Bohio, is the only one who survived up to nowadays.

Living during centuries away from occidental and spaniard influences allowed to maintain alive in the community many aspects of the original african culture: social organization (for example age group structures called "kuadro"), rites and believes (based on 3 different worlds) , creole language (taking his roots in bantu language), hairstyles (plaits, supposed to be originally designed in order to reproduce a map of the trails around the village), traditional medicines...
For sure, the drum tradition in the village  is fully representative of these african roots, and is articulated around the three main drums as follows:  
- llamador (small drum, for the tempo)
- alegre (bigger drum, for the solos)
- tamborera (bass drum with sticks)
(additionally, funerals can include a huge drum called pechiche)

Although Palenque culture has been often depreciated in Colombia, numerous great artists come from San Basilio, including the famous afrocolombian singer Petrona Martinez who still lives in the village.

Petrona Martinez - La Critica:

Also the internationally known drummer Batata (Paulino Salgado Valdes, +2004) from the band "Las Ambulancias Alegres" (meaning "happy ambulances"). Following tracks comes from a recent album (Radio Bakongo, 2002, Networkmedien/Harmonia Mundi)

Batata y su Rumba Palenquera - Ataole (feat. kassiva, milton mendoza and makambile):

(much) more to come about Palenque...