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$6.000 ISSUE FALL / WINTER 2011

14


Illustration: Luis Felipe Hernández

CONTENTS 10 Editor´s Notes 12 What´s New 14 Barro de Medellín 16 True North 20 Just Push It 6

22 De Juepuchas 26 Breaking Style 30 Natural Elements

36 Picós: Back In The Mix 42 Manizales

48 Love and Paint

52 Revolution

Without Death

56 Young Fashion 58 Ixel Moda


Illustration: Luis Felipe Hernández

CONTENTS 10 Editor´s Notes 12 What´s New 14 Barro de Medellín 16 True North 20 Just Push It 6

22 De Juepuchas 26 Breaking Style 30 Natural Elements

36 Picós: Back In The Mix 42 Manizales

48 Love and Paint

52 Revolution

Without Death

56 Young Fashion 58 Ixel Moda


Executive Director

Robin Finley robin@jackmag.com.co

Chief Editor

Jeff Guerra jeff@jackmag.com.co

Layout Design

Javier Casafus javiercasafus@hotmail.com

Fashion Consultants

Laura Salazar, Natalia Uribe

Pre - Press

Tecnopress

Printing

Grafiarte Medellín

Cover Photography Photographers

Nando Pérez, Septima Photos, Federico Rios, David Rugeles, Ricardo Quintero Londoño, Picnic Fotografia, Carlos Andres, Fantauzzi Brothers, Santiago Riascos

Writers

Jeff Guerra, Robin Finley, Camila Álvarez, Josh Weiss, Jimmy Jinx, Federico Rios

Illustration

Federico Castrillon Illustration - current page federico.castrillon@gmail.com Luis Felipe Hernández / Bleepolar www.behance.net/bleepolar

Production, Direction, Styling: Laura Salazar Natalia Uribe

Photo:

Nando Pérez www.hacephotos.com

Makeup , Hair William Cruz Bermeo

Model: Alejandra Navarro, Informa Models

Clothing Maria Isabel Figueroa

Follow us:

Web: www.jackmag.com.co Email: info@jackmag.com.co Telephone: 311-790-0082 Telephone: 301-482-4711 Jack is a publication of The Arepa © All rights reserved

8


Executive Director

Robin Finley robin@jackmag.com.co

Chief Editor

Jeff Guerra jeff@jackmag.com.co

Layout Design

Javier Casafus javiercasafus@hotmail.com

Fashion Consultants

Laura Salazar, Natalia Uribe

Pre - Press

Tecnopress

Printing

Grafiarte Medellín

Cover Photography Photographers

Nando Pérez, Septima Photos, Federico Rios, David Rugeles, Ricardo Quintero Londoño, Picnic Fotografia, Carlos Andres, Fantauzzi Brothers, Santiago Riascos

Writers

Jeff Guerra, Robin Finley, Camila Álvarez, Josh Weiss, Jimmy Jinx, Federico Rios

Illustration

Federico Castrillon Illustration - current page federico.castrillon@gmail.com Luis Felipe Hernández / Bleepolar www.behance.net/bleepolar

Production, Direction, Styling: Laura Salazar Natalia Uribe

Photo:

Nando Pérez www.hacephotos.com

Makeup , Hair William Cruz Bermeo

Model: Alejandra Navarro, Informa Models

Clothing Maria Isabel Figueroa

Follow us:

Web: www.jackmag.com.co Email: info@jackmag.com.co Telephone: 311-790-0082 Telephone: 301-482-4711 Jack is a publication of The Arepa © All rights reserved

8


Editor´s Notes Jack Gets Dirty

H

Photo: Ricardo Quintero Londoño

ere at Jack we’re all about digging through the mud to find Colombia’s many unseen treasures, and this time we really got our hands dirty in trying to extract the best stories we could find for this final issue of 2011.

Bogota who are transforming deeply national pop cultural audio references like telenovela samples and Miss Colombia speeches into modern dance floor cuts that are rocking clubs from here to Texas.

When you dig, you find roots, and many of the stories we found for Jack #14 feature people and projects that are looking to the future while maintaining a close connection to cultural and historic roots. Talk to any tree and you’ll learn that this is a great formula for longterm success; roots man, roots!

Professional photographer Federico Rios went way up to the literal northern tip of Colombia for a look at La Guajira’s fascinating desert peninsula, where a large indigenous population is co-existing with a major excavation industry bent on sucking the land dry of its vast coal, natural gas and salt reserves. We also found time for a trip to Manizales, where we discovered that there’s more to this emerging town than the rich flavorful beans that grow in its famed coffee-rich highlands.

We are especially fortunate to have a sizzling team of contributors on this one; first, Los Angeles-based Josh Weiss (aka DJ Gozar) traveled to Barranquilla for a story on the colorful picó sound system culture, and the part it has played in maintaining the Atlantic Coast’s musical connection to Africa and the Caribbean. Not to be outdone, Miami-based correspondent Camila Álvarez sat down with De Juepuchas, a DJ and production duo from

10

Finally, we’ve got an exclusive look at Barro de Medellin (literally “Mud of Medellin”), a live musical adaptation of an awardwinning children’s novel that will open late in November. Go ahead and read through this issue, then wash your hands, rinse, and repeat.


Editor´s Notes Jack Gets Dirty

H

Photo: Ricardo Quintero Londoño

ere at Jack we’re all about digging through the mud to find Colombia’s many unseen treasures, and this time we really got our hands dirty in trying to extract the best stories we could find for this final issue of 2011.

Bogota who are transforming deeply national pop cultural audio references like telenovela samples and Miss Colombia speeches into modern dance floor cuts that are rocking clubs from here to Texas.

When you dig, you find roots, and many of the stories we found for Jack #14 feature people and projects that are looking to the future while maintaining a close connection to cultural and historic roots. Talk to any tree and you’ll learn that this is a great formula for longterm success; roots man, roots!

Professional photographer Federico Rios went way up to the literal northern tip of Colombia for a look at La Guajira’s fascinating desert peninsula, where a large indigenous population is co-existing with a major excavation industry bent on sucking the land dry of its vast coal, natural gas and salt reserves. We also found time for a trip to Manizales, where we discovered that there’s more to this emerging town than the rich flavorful beans that grow in its famed coffee-rich highlands.

We are especially fortunate to have a sizzling team of contributors on this one; first, Los Angeles-based Josh Weiss (aka DJ Gozar) traveled to Barranquilla for a story on the colorful picó sound system culture, and the part it has played in maintaining the Atlantic Coast’s musical connection to Africa and the Caribbean. Not to be outdone, Miami-based correspondent Camila Álvarez sat down with De Juepuchas, a DJ and production duo from

10

Finally, we’ve got an exclusive look at Barro de Medellin (literally “Mud of Medellin”), a live musical adaptation of an awardwinning children’s novel that will open late in November. Go ahead and read through this issue, then wash your hands, rinse, and repeat.


New Jack Picks In Colombia

BOGOTA

MEDELLÍN

SANTA MARTA

AFROGLAM

POISON

BOGOTA

OUZO

6L6

Calle 82 #12-21. CC El Retiro, Fifth Floor

Carrera 37 #8-31 (Via Primavera)

Carerra 3 #19-29 Parque de Los Novios

Calle 93b #11a-14 Third Floor

Afro culture’s ascension has reached the 5th floor at one of Bogota’s most exclusive hangouts – El Retiro. Afroglam is a true one-of-a-kind spot, dedicated to all things Afro in everything from music to design. This luxurious bungalow’s hand crafted furniture and massive semi-circular wooden bar highlight a lush ambience that will keep you here for hours. The music is tight, with over 5,000 jazz LPs, live blues music, dancehall on the weekends and regular visiting DJs. As for drinks, try the Atracción Cannibal cocktail, made of pepper vodka, tequila, lulo fruit, and a touch of Tabasco. This is one of the most impeccably designed spots in Bogota, with a panoramic view of the city to boot. Afroglam is open Wednesday through Saturday nights.

12

Medellin’s La Primavera is a super-hip shopping district, a place one goes to find independent fashion designers and oneof-a-kind clothing. That is, unless you’re a guy. Among this plentitude of women’s boutiques and shoe stores, Poison has recently opened an all-male shopping oasis. Started by three brothers who were fed up with local options, they’ve stocked their store with t-shirts and accessories unavailable anywhere else in the city, with nothing in the store costing more than 50,000 pesos. In addition to all this, Poison boasts an in-house graphic design studio and have their own clothing line called Scared Children, they also are promoting music related events. Get some new threads and catch all the action Monday through Saturday from 11am to 8pm.

A small but exciting gourmet movement is underway in Santa Marta’s renovated downtown district, and Mediterranean inspired Ouzo is the culinary newcomer. Delectable dining conditions welcome jet setting Samarios and food savvy international visitors with high ceilings and outdoor patios infused with ocean air. The menu includes homemade pastas and wood stove pizzas, but Ouzo’s real forte is a fine collection of specialties – grilled octopus, tiger shrimp pasta with imported Gouda, lobster ravioli with fresh bruschetta, and fresh Greek salads. With a rotating menu curated by former Manhattan resident chef Mike McMurdo, this local favorite delivers exceptional quality without the top dollar prices found in Cartagena. Ouzu is open Tuesday to Saturday from 6pm until late.

Watching a band perform live is an intimate experience; being there while they record in the studio is like hopping in bed together. 6L6 takes it to this next level with their stunning new bar/discoteca right on Parque 93. Formerly located in Usaquen, 6L6 pushes the live music concept into new territory as each band member is given his own on-stage Plexiglas recording cabin, giving the audience a sense of being right there in the recording studio with them. From the third storey patio one can catch all the action of Parque 93 while enjoying gourmet snacks like Asian rolls or gourmet chuzos. With a great sound system, huge bar selection, and a front row seat at the recording studio, 6L6 will rock you! Open Thursday through Saturday nights from 7pm to 3am.

13


New Jack Picks In Colombia

BOGOTA

MEDELLÍN

SANTA MARTA

AFROGLAM

POISON

BOGOTA

OUZO

6L6

Calle 82 #12-21. CC El Retiro, Fifth Floor

Carrera 37 #8-31 (Via Primavera)

Carerra 3 #19-29 Parque de Los Novios

Calle 93b #11a-14 Third Floor

Afro culture’s ascension has reached the 5th floor at one of Bogota’s most exclusive hangouts – El Retiro. Afroglam is a true one-of-a-kind spot, dedicated to all things Afro in everything from music to design. This luxurious bungalow’s hand crafted furniture and massive semi-circular wooden bar highlight a lush ambience that will keep you here for hours. The music is tight, with over 5,000 jazz LPs, live blues music, dancehall on the weekends and regular visiting DJs. As for drinks, try the Atracción Cannibal cocktail, made of pepper vodka, tequila, lulo fruit, and a touch of Tabasco. This is one of the most impeccably designed spots in Bogota, with a panoramic view of the city to boot. Afroglam is open Wednesday through Saturday nights.

12

Medellin’s La Primavera is a super-hip shopping district, a place one goes to find independent fashion designers and oneof-a-kind clothing. That is, unless you’re a guy. Among this plentitude of women’s boutiques and shoe stores, Poison has recently opened an all-male shopping oasis. Started by three brothers who were fed up with local options, they’ve stocked their store with t-shirts and accessories unavailable anywhere else in the city, with nothing in the store costing more than 50,000 pesos. In addition to all this, Poison boasts an in-house graphic design studio and have their own clothing line called Scared Children, they also are promoting music related events. Get some new threads and catch all the action Monday through Saturday from 11am to 8pm.

A small but exciting gourmet movement is underway in Santa Marta’s renovated downtown district, and Mediterranean inspired Ouzo is the culinary newcomer. Delectable dining conditions welcome jet setting Samarios and food savvy international visitors with high ceilings and outdoor patios infused with ocean air. The menu includes homemade pastas and wood stove pizzas, but Ouzo’s real forte is a fine collection of specialties – grilled octopus, tiger shrimp pasta with imported Gouda, lobster ravioli with fresh bruschetta, and fresh Greek salads. With a rotating menu curated by former Manhattan resident chef Mike McMurdo, this local favorite delivers exceptional quality without the top dollar prices found in Cartagena. Ouzu is open Tuesday to Saturday from 6pm until late.

Watching a band perform live is an intimate experience; being there while they record in the studio is like hopping in bed together. 6L6 takes it to this next level with their stunning new bar/discoteca right on Parque 93. Formerly located in Usaquen, 6L6 pushes the live music concept into new territory as each band member is given his own on-stage Plexiglas recording cabin, giving the audience a sense of being right there in the recording studio with them. From the third storey patio one can catch all the action of Parque 93 while enjoying gourmet snacks like Asian rolls or gourmet chuzos. With a great sound system, huge bar selection, and a front row seat at the recording studio, 6L6 will rock you! Open Thursday through Saturday nights from 7pm to 3am.

13


Text: Jeff Guerra Photography: Picnic Fotografia

F

our years ago, Spanish writer Álvaro Gómez Cerdá came to visit Medellin. During this trip he was genuinely moved by the story of the city’s remarkable transformation, and upon returning home began writing Barro de Medellin (“Mud of Medellin”), a children’s novel that tells the story of two young friends growing up in Santo Domingo Savio, a neighborhood in the north of the city. After winning Spain’s national award for youth literature in 2009, the book was translated into several languages and found its way into the hands of Xandra Uribe, a Colombian producer and creative director who had just returned to her home city of Medellin after 20 years spent living in the United States. Experiencing her own pride and amazement at the city’s miraculous progress, she contacted the author and proposed the idea of producing a live musical show based on the novel; the pair quickly came to an agreement and began working on a theatrical adaptation. In terms of assembling a cast, Uribe had a clear idea from the beginning: “We wanted people from all over Medellin – various races, differing socio-economic levels. We are one city, not 16 neighborhoods, and the only place here that unites people from different origins is the army, in a war context. We thought it would be interesting to initiate that same ideology, but in an artistic context.” The emphasis on social inclusion and artistic development grew increasingly relevant for Uribe and her

production team, and they ultimately decided to form the Barro de Medellin Foundation and School for Artistic Training. The school will continue beyond the musical as a space for youth to develop multi-disciplinary creative skills. True to the original vision, Barro de Medellin’s musical cast is comprised mostly of kids from two schools on opposite ends of the economic scale: Cantoalegre, a private music academy in the wealthy Poblado area, and 4 Elementos, an after-school hip hop program in Aranjuez, a neighborhood with a storied drug and gang violence history. While they may lack surface similarity, these schools both feature intelligent, passionate leadership that is dedicated to developing pride and artistic integrity in their young students. Also featured in this special cast is Magaly Alzate, lead singer of the acclaimed Medellinbased band Gordo’s Project. She and the cast

will perform live, originally composed music that draws from local folkloric and AfroColombian rhythms. Rafael Palacios, Founder and Director of the Sankofa Afro-Colombian dance outfit, brings an extraordinary level of artistry and professionalism as the show’s Artistic Director and Choreographer.

Barro de Medellin Opens November 24th and will run for four days in Medellin; follow their facebook page for updates, behind the scenes rehearsal videos and more.

facebook.com/barrodemedellin

15


Text: Jeff Guerra Photography: Picnic Fotografia

F

our years ago, Spanish writer Álvaro Gómez Cerdá came to visit Medellin. During this trip he was genuinely moved by the story of the city’s remarkable transformation, and upon returning home began writing Barro de Medellin (“Mud of Medellin”), a children’s novel that tells the story of two young friends growing up in Santo Domingo Savio, a neighborhood in the north of the city. After winning Spain’s national award for youth literature in 2009, the book was translated into several languages and found its way into the hands of Xandra Uribe, a Colombian producer and creative director who had just returned to her home city of Medellin after 20 years spent living in the United States. Experiencing her own pride and amazement at the city’s miraculous progress, she contacted the author and proposed the idea of producing a live musical show based on the novel; the pair quickly came to an agreement and began working on a theatrical adaptation. In terms of assembling a cast, Uribe had a clear idea from the beginning: “We wanted people from all over Medellin – various races, differing socio-economic levels. We are one city, not 16 neighborhoods, and the only place here that unites people from different origins is the army, in a war context. We thought it would be interesting to initiate that same ideology, but in an artistic context.” The emphasis on social inclusion and artistic development grew increasingly relevant for Uribe and her

production team, and they ultimately decided to form the Barro de Medellin Foundation and School for Artistic Training. The school will continue beyond the musical as a space for youth to develop multi-disciplinary creative skills. True to the original vision, Barro de Medellin’s musical cast is comprised mostly of kids from two schools on opposite ends of the economic scale: Cantoalegre, a private music academy in the wealthy Poblado area, and 4 Elementos, an after-school hip hop program in Aranjuez, a neighborhood with a storied drug and gang violence history. While they may lack surface similarity, these schools both feature intelligent, passionate leadership that is dedicated to developing pride and artistic integrity in their young students. Also featured in this special cast is Magaly Alzate, lead singer of the acclaimed Medellinbased band Gordo’s Project. She and the cast

will perform live, originally composed music that draws from local folkloric and AfroColombian rhythms. Rafael Palacios, Founder and Director of the Sankofa Afro-Colombian dance outfit, brings an extraordinary level of artistry and professionalism as the show’s Artistic Director and Choreographer.

Barro de Medellin Opens November 24th and will run for four days in Medellin; follow their facebook page for updates, behind the scenes rehearsal videos and more.

facebook.com/barrodemedellin

15


Text: Federico Rios / Robin Finley Photography: Federico Rios / Septima Photos

Colombia’s La Guajira desert is not an easy place to reach, sitting out on a rugged peninsular horizon in the northernmost part of the country. It looks out into the blue Caribbean Sea where dozens of tugboats move coal from Cerrejón, the nation’s largest coal mine, to behemoth cargo ships awaiting delivery in distant floating ports. This harsh desert ecosystem was one of the first sites that Spanish explorers encountered upon arriving in the Americas. Today, its spectacular scenery and relative isolation tend to attract only the more adventurous road trippers in search of a unique experience quite unlike that found anywhere else in the country. While rich in coal, natural gas and salt reserves, there’s very little tourism infrastructure to be found in the La Guajira department. “Accommodation” often means a hammock to go along with your plate of rice, beans, and roasted goat, and spotty electricity means refrigerators, fans, and other appliances regularly come and go. Once the sun dips down, it’s a dark landscape set to the sound of waves whooshing in from the sea. For many of course, this is its main appeal. About fourty-five percent of La Guajira’s population is indigenous, with members of the Arhuaco, Koguis, Wiwa and Wayuu nations currently inhabiting ten reservations across the department. The Wayuu, pictured here, live on the edge of two worlds: one driven by mining and progress, the other by roots and clan.

17


Text: Federico Rios Photography: Federico Rios / Septima Photos

Colombia’s La Guajira desert is not an easy place to reach, sitting out on a rugged peninsular horizon in the northernmost part of the country. It looks out into the blue Caribbean Sea where dozens of tugboats move coal from Cerrejón, the nation’s largest coal mine, to behemoth cargo ships awaiting delivery in distant floating ports. This harsh desert ecosystem was one of the first sites that Spanish explorers encountered upon arriving in the Americas. Today, its spectacular scenery and relative isolation tend to attract only the more adventurous road trippers in search of a unique experience quite unlike that found anywhere else in the country. While rich in coal, natural gas and salt reserves, there’s very little tourism infrastructure to be found in the La Guajira department. “Accommodation” often means a hammock to go along with your plate of rice, beans, and roasted goat, and spotty electricity means refrigerators, fans, and other appliances regularly come and go. Once the sun dips down, it’s a dark landscape set to the sound of waves whooshing in from the sea. For many of course, this is its main appeal. About fourty-five percent of La Guajira’s population is indigenous, with members of the Arhuaco, Koguis, Wiwa and Wayuu nations currently inhabiting ten reservations across the department. The Wayuu, pictured here, live on the edge of two worlds: one driven by mining and progress, the other by roots and clan.

17


(Above) A paste of natural extracts is applied to add color and avoid sunburn. (Below) At work or at play, “Mantas� blankets are worn by Wayuu women.


(Above) A paste of natural extracts is applied to add color and avoid sunburn. (Below) At work or at play, “Mantas� blankets are worn by Wayuu women.


Text: Robin Finley Photography: Santiago Riascos

The streets of Colombia offer a colorful taxonomy of entrepreneurial push carts; here, decontextualized, these convenience stores on wheels serve as a glimpse into Colombia’s informal employment sector. In a country where over 60% of the population lives in poverty, they speak of financial hardship and hope, independence, desperation, and daily survival. Many of these carts display the sort of hybrid construction techniques that would make MacGyver proud. In true do-it-yourself fashion, the carts are cobbled together using whatever materials are available. They typically offer passing pedestrians everything from food and drink to cigarettes, cell phones, DVDs and even fishing poles, often with a mobile BBQ thrown in on the side. Once in a while you’ll stumble upon a vendor serving his own unique market niche, such as the mango and shoelace guy (picture above). The pirate ship cart at right is a super-deluxe model with every option and on-board accessory included. Its main sail announces that cell phone calls can be made here for 200 pesos a minute, and the main deck offers all manner of snacks, an FM radio, and even a rear-view mirror for the captain’s view (safety first!) Open at least 10 hours a day, most push carts have a space behind the storefront display to tuck away personal items such as lunch, an umbrella, a garbage bag, and most importantly, the cash register.

21


Text: Robin Finley Photography: Santiago Riascos

The streets of Colombia offer a colorful taxonomy of entrepreneurial push carts; here, decontextualized, these convenience stores on wheels serve as a glimpse into Colombia’s informal employment sector. In a country where over 60% of the population lives in poverty, they speak of financial hardship and hope, independence, desperation, and daily survival. Many of these carts display the sort of hybrid construction techniques that would make MacGyver proud. In true do-it-yourself fashion, the carts are cobbled together using whatever materials are available. They typically offer passing pedestrians everything from food and drink to cigarettes, cell phones, DVDs and even fishing poles, often with a mobile BBQ thrown in on the side. Once in a while you’ll stumble upon a vendor serving his own unique market niche, such as the mango and shoelace guy (picture above). The pirate ship cart at right is a super-deluxe model with every option and on-board accessory included. Its main sail announces that cell phone calls can be made here for 200 pesos a minute, and the main deck offers all manner of snacks, an FM radio, and even a rear-view mirror for the captain’s view (safety first!) Open at least 10 hours a day, most push carts have a space behind the storefront display to tuck away personal items such as lunch, an umbrella, a garbage bag, and most importantly, the cash register.

21


Jack: What inspired you to create a soundtrack using Colombian auditory memories?

Text: Camila Álvarez Photos: De Juepuchas

An increasing number of Colombian musical artists are mining the country’s rich and somewhat undiscovered cultural depths; Jack correspondent Camila Álvarez recently sat down with De Juepuchas, one of the best examples of this movement.

Close your eyes and you’ll hear fragments of popular ads and TV shows sewn together with controversial political speeches and children’s songs across modern colorful beats. Open your eyes and you’ll see confetti, balloons, and dancing bananas. There’s carnival paraphernalia and cotton candy, people dancing around like wild euphoric kids. Enjoy the moment. Be yourself. Welcome to the “Nanay Cucas Experience”, a playground constructed by Scott Anderson and George Nenon. Here memories come alive and remind us that we are part of this weird event we call human life. Anderson and Nenon are pseudonyms for the Bogota-based duo De Juepuchas, who are toying with national artifacts of sound and culture to craft new compositions in a fun, fascinating way.

22

De Juepuchas: It wasn’t premeditated. I had the opportunity to take a class that makes you more sensitive to the sound experience in general, to listen to the world in a different way. After that I started collecting sounds. I wanted to make covers of songs and I realized I could put together all the stuff that I had been collecting in my new creations. Coincidentally, they ended up being a reflection of my own reality: they were all memories. They became De Juepuchas’ 1st album. J: Your music creates an atmosphere that takes us back to childhood, inviting us to play. Why? DJ: Kids have a more innocent view of life and they are predisposed to say “yes” to things, to smile at things, to have more fun. When we grow up we start forgetting that and we start believing in certain things about the world: paradigms – how we have to dance, how we have to eat, how we can laugh at sad news, etc. Childhood is a beautiful thing, and that’s why we try evoking it in our live shows. J: You guys played at SXSW in Texas this year. How was that experience?

DJ: Very challenging – we were playing next to all these emerging acts in the independent scene. It’s not so much a festival, more like a market. Like when you go to Wal-Mart and you are in front of 800 kinds of milk: whole, lowfat, lactose-free. So, to stand above everyone else is a challenge. We did well, but we know there are still a lot of things we can do better. I see it as a little step we took going up a huge stairway. J: Tell us a little bit about your side projects. DJ: I see them as personalities. There are some behaviors that change, some words we say differently when we hang out with different people. And that also happens to my musical mind. One project is called Matiz y Semblanza – these are songs that I composed with friends. We used to go to Andres Silva’s studio (a former member of De Juepuchas) and stay there until dawn making music. Then there’s Interlude, more of a personal and experimental project.

The internet is like De Juepuchas’ mom, and I have to defend it. 23


Jack: What inspired you to create a soundtrack using Colombian auditory memories?

Text: Camila Álvarez Photos: De Juepuchas

An increasing number of Colombian musical artists are mining the country’s rich and somewhat undiscovered cultural depths; Jack correspondent Camila Álvarez recently sat down with De Juepuchas, one of the best examples of this movement.

Close your eyes and you’ll hear fragments of popular ads and TV shows sewn together with controversial political speeches and children’s songs across modern colorful beats. Open your eyes and you’ll see confetti, balloons, and dancing bananas. There’s carnival paraphernalia and cotton candy, people dancing around like wild euphoric kids. Enjoy the moment. Be yourself. Welcome to the “Nanay Cucas Experience”, a playground constructed by Scott Anderson and George Nenon. Here memories come alive and remind us that we are part of this weird event we call human life. Anderson and Nenon are pseudonyms for the Bogota-based duo De Juepuchas, who are toying with national artifacts of sound and culture to craft new compositions in a fun, fascinating way.

22

De Juepuchas: It wasn’t premeditated. I had the opportunity to take a class that makes you more sensitive to the sound experience in general, to listen to the world in a different way. After that I started collecting sounds. I wanted to make covers of songs and I realized I could put together all the stuff that I had been collecting in my new creations. Coincidentally, they ended up being a reflection of my own reality: they were all memories. They became De Juepuchas’ 1st album. J: Your music creates an atmosphere that takes us back to childhood, inviting us to play. Why? DJ: Kids have a more innocent view of life and they are predisposed to say “yes” to things, to smile at things, to have more fun. When we grow up we start forgetting that and we start believing in certain things about the world: paradigms – how we have to dance, how we have to eat, how we can´t laugh at sad news, etc. Childhood is a beautiful thing, and that’s why we try evoking it in our live shows. J: You guys played at SXSW in Texas this year. How was that experience?

DJ: Very challenging – we were playing next to all these emerging acts in the independent scene. It’s not so much a festival, more like a market. Like when you go to Wal-Mart and you are in front of 800 kinds of milk: whole, lowfat, lactose-free. So, to stand above everyone else is a challenge. We did well, but we know there are still a lot of things we can do better. I see it as a little step we took going up a huge stairway. J: Tell us a little bit about your side projects. DJ: I see them as personalities. There are some behaviors that change, some words we say differently when we hang out with different people. And that also happens to my musical mind. One project is called Matiz y Semblanza – these are songs that I composed with friends. We used to go to Andres Silva’s studio (a former member of De Juepuchas) and stay there until dawn making music. Then there’s Interlude, more of a personal and experimental project.

The internet is like De Juepuchas’ mom, and I have to defend it. 23


J: You’ve said before that there’s no such thing as “pure originality”, that everything stems from pre-existing ideas. So what defines originality? DJ: Intention – the wish to alter somehow a pre-conceived idea, which then results in this idea being impregnated with your soul. J: We know you’re behind ‘Recrea’, a collective that formed in an effort to fight ‘La Ley Lleras’, a new law that would place restrictions on what we share online and how we do it… DJ: I believe the Internet has the power to challenge paradigms about knowledge, learning, creativity, and how we solve problems. The internet is like De Juepuchas’ mom, and I have to defend it. For more info you can visit www.recrea.co. J: Your first album, ‘Ser De Juepuchas Varios Años’, was such an original idea. How do you follow that up, do you continue along the path it paved, or do you look to forge a new one? DJ: To keep using the same idea would be like obeying an expectation, and I

24

Childhood is a beautiful thing, and that’s why we try evoking it in our live shows. don’t want that. Ideas have to evolve, and they do so when you keep being curious and looking for new things. More than receiving a pat on the back, I want to generate questions with my music. J: Have you ever thought about translating the De Juepuchas Experience? Maybe play with auditory memories from other places? DJ: Lately, some people have told me that they would love for me to translate the experience. It happened with someone from Australia, with a chick in Italy, and with people from different cities in Colombia. I just spoke to this girl from Naples who has a team of people that have been collecting sounds that I’m going to translate to music. If it works, this can definitely be the beginning of a global project.

soundcloud.com/dejuepuchas

25


J: You’ve said before that there’s no such thing as “pure originality”, that everything stems from pre-existing ideas. So what defines originality? DJ: Intention – the wish to alter somehow a pre-conceived idea, which then results in this idea being impregnated with your soul. J: We know you’re behind ‘Recrea’, a collective that formed in an effort to fight ‘La Ley Lleras’, a new law that would place restrictions on what we share online and how we do it… DJ: I believe the Internet has the power to challenge paradigms about knowledge, learning, creativity, and how we solve problems. The internet is like De Juepuchas’ mom, and I have to defend it. For more info you can visit www.recrea.co. J: Your first album, ‘Ser De Juepuchas Varios Años’, was such an original idea. How do you follow that up, do you continue along the path it paved, or do you look to forge a new one? DJ: To keep using the same idea would be like obeying an expectation, and I

24

Childhood is a beautiful thing, and that’s why we try evoking it in our live shows. don’t want that. Ideas have to evolve, and they do so when you keep being curious and looking for new things. More than receiving a pat on the back, I want to generate questions with my music. J: Have you ever thought about translating the De Juepuchas Experience? Maybe play with auditory memories from other places? DJ: Lately, some people have told me that they would love for me to translate the experience. It happened with someone from Australia, with a chick in Italy, and with people from different cities in Colombia. I just spoke to this girl from Naples who has a team of people that have been collecting sounds that I’m going to translate to music. If it works, this can definitely be the beginning of a global project.

soundcloud.com/dejuepuchas

25


It’s official: urban dance has made a permanent move from the local streets and into the hearts of people around the world. Reality based television dance competitions are now among the most highly watched programs, and the internet is littered with groups who’ve recorded their moves to share with hungry fans from all over. Even the grainiest homemade video can attract millions of internet views if it appears to showcase some new dance craze about to make its way into the mainstream. Take Yak Films for instance, a group of young filmmakers that travels the world documenting local dance styles. To date, their YouTube channel has over 41 million worldwide views.

Text: Robin Finley Photography: Carlos Andres

18

(Left) David Style illustrates a few moves. (Above right) Rompe Stylo on their home turf in the Villa Del Socorro barrio, Medellin

This global phenomenon has made its way high up into the barrios of Medellin as well, where dance crews in predominantly Afro-Colombian communities have thrown their hats in the ring by setting champeta, dancehall, and folkloric rhythms to synchronized, choreographed hip hop-style dance moves to foster an emerging scene called New Style. But this somehow hasn’t gone far enough for a young five-member dance crew from a barrio called Santa Cruz; while respectful of a local scene that has been nurtured by Medellin’s esteemed hip hop schools, they felt the need to push some of the boundaries of what we call “style”. They call themselves Rompe Stylo, or Break Style.


It’s official: urban dance has made a permanent move from the local streets and into the hearts of people around the world. Reality based television dance competitions are now among the most highly watched programs, and the internet is littered with groups who’ve recorded their moves to share with hungry fans from all over. Even the grainiest homemade video can attract millions of internet views if it appears to showcase some new dance craze about to make its way into the mainstream. Take Yak Films for instance, a group of young filmmakers that travels the world documenting local dance styles. To date, their YouTube channel has over 41 million worldwide views.

Text: Robin Finley Photography: Carlos Andres

18

(Left) David Style illustrates a few moves. (Above right) Rompe Stylo on their home turf in the Villa Del Socorro barrio, Medellin

This global phenomenon has made its way high up into the barrios of Medellin as well, where dance crews in predominantly Afro-Colombian communities have thrown their hats in the ring by setting champeta, dancehall, and folkloric rhythms to synchronized, choreographed hip hop-style dance moves to foster an emerging scene called New Style. But this somehow hasn’t gone far enough for a young five-member dance crew from a barrio called Santa Cruz; while respectful of a local scene that has been nurtured by Medellin’s esteemed hip hop schools, they felt the need to push some of the boundaries of what we call “style”. They call themselves Rompe Stylo, or Break Style.


(Clockwise from left) Rompe Stylo on the block; Sebas Baile gets down; David Stylo busts a move; Elkincito

It was five years ago when young Sebas Baile was at a discoteca and first spotted David Stylo’s electric hip hop moves. A no-holds-barred dance battle broke out, after which the two young men earned each other’s respect and decided to form a group to advance their craft together. With the addition of Elkin, a choreographer, Rompe Stylo took shape as a hip hop dance crew with Afro-Colombian style and attitude. Danny and Elkincito later joined, and the five-member squad began performing at local block parties and discotecas before making their way into music videos and large concerts such as the annual Festi-Afro. They now open reggaeton concerts and live champeta shows with their precision routines.

Offstage, Rompe Stylo spend much of their time developing experimental new moves – slow-motion steps, double-jointed elbow twists and death-defying neck contortions. Ask the group to define their style and they immediately respond that what they do is to defy genres. While there are recognizable elements of everything from boogaloo and pop/lock to tecktonik, breaking and mapale (a Colombian folkloric dance with African roots), it’s clear that they are breaking these styles down in a wholly original way.

salonmalaga.com

Perhaps the best way to describe what Rompe Stylo do is provide movement to the natural soundtrack emerging from deep within the winding narrow alleyways in the high barrios of Medellin: the buses, street vendors, and constant melodic interplay of the various latin rhythms dancing in and out of restaurants, corner shops and open bedroom windows. Watch for them online – an underground Rompe Stylo dance video should be going viral anytime now.


(Clockwise from left) Rompe Stylo on the block; Sebas Baile gets down; David Stylo busts a move; Elkincito

It was five years ago when young Sebas Baile was at a discoteca and first spotted David Stylo’s electric hip hop moves. A no-holds-barred dance battle broke out, after which the two young men earned each other’s respect and decided to form a group to advance their craft together. With the addition of Elkin, a choreographer, Rompe Stylo took shape as a hip hop dance crew with Afro-Colombian style and attitude. Danny and Elkincito later joined, and the five-member squad began performing at local block parties and discotecas before making their way into music videos and large concerts such as the annual Festi-Afro. They now open reggaeton concerts and live champeta shows with their precision routines.

Offstage, Rompe Stylo spend much of their time developing experimental new moves – slow-motion steps, double-jointed elbow twists and death-defying neck contortions. Ask the group to define their style and they immediately respond that what they do is to defy genres. While there are recognizable elements of everything from boogaloo and pop/lock to tecktonik, breaking and mapale (a Colombian folkloric dance with African roots), it’s clear that they are breaking these styles down in a wholly original way.

salonmalaga.com

Perhaps the best way to describe what Rompe Stylo do is provide movement to the natural soundtrack emerging from deep within the winding narrow alleyways in the high barrios of Medellin: the buses, street vendors, and constant melodic interplay of the various latin rhythms dancing in and out of restaurants, corner shops and open bedroom windows. Watch for them online – an underground Rompe Stylo dance video should be going viral anytime now.


Production, direction, styling: Laura Salazar & Natalia Uribe Photography: Nando Perez Photography assistant: Sebastian Correal Gomez Makeup & hair: William Cruz Bermeo Model: Alejandra Navarro, Informa Models Clothing: Maria Isabel Figueroa


Production, direction, styling: Laura Salazar & Natalia Uribe Photography: Nando Perez Photography assistant: Sebastian Correal Gomez Makeup & hair: William Cruz Bermeo Model: Alejandra Navarro, Informa Models Clothing: Maria Isabel Figueroa


T Text and Photography by Josh Weiss

Musical history and cultural roots come together in northern Colombia’s sound system culture

36

he city of Barranquilla seems at first glance an unlikely candidate to help spread Colombia’s musical heritage throughout the world. Located on the Atlantic Coast, this heavily industrial municipality sees little tourist traffic aside from that which

arrives to celebrate its world famous Carnival each year. But behind this otherwise industrial machine is a fascinating homegrown culture of sound systems, or picós, which are the center of social events featuring music unique to the area.


T Text and Photography by Josh Weiss

Musical history and cultural roots come together in northern Colombia’s sound system culture

36

he city of Barranquilla seems at first glance an unlikely candidate to help spread Colombia’s musical heritage throughout the world. Located on the Atlantic Coast, this heavily industrial municipality sees little tourist traffic aside from that which

arrives to celebrate its world famous Carnival each year. But behind this otherwise industrial machine is a fascinating homegrown culture of sound systems, or picós, which are the center of social events featuring music unique to the area.


5 CHAMPETA CLASSICS This playlist is representative of the heavy percussive elements that drive the classic picós, including such rhythms as cumbia and salsa from the northern coast of Colombia, Brazilian soul music, dancehall from Jamaica, African soukous and more.

Abelardo Carbono – Quiero a Mi Gente: A distinctly African track from one of the masters of champeta guitar. Lito Barrientos y Su Orquesta – Barrio Alegre: Salsa from Rafaelto, who came from El Salvador but recorded some serious tracks for Colombia’s Discos Fuentes label. Anibal Velasquez – Esa fue: Heavy cumbia from Anibal, who still lives in the barrio of Soledad in Barranquilla. Orchestra Tumba Africa – Resorte Respaldo: A good example of African music that landed on the coast and ultimately led to champeta. Super Cat – Cry Fi De Youth: 80’s digital dancehall to pound the picó speakers.

In brief, picós are homemade mobile sound systems that feature speakers and DJ equipment – a literal party on wheels. Unique to the Caribbean and originally emanating from Cuba and Jamaica, they were originally created as a response to the fact that poorer people weren’t welcome in dance clubs. For them, these picós became their clubs, a place to dance and enjoy the music they wanted to hear. True labors of love, the speaker boxes and equipment were painted with bright, colorful images of keyboard players, tanks at war, African dancers, cobra snakes… visual elements that evoke local history and culture. These gigantic speakers typically push out a mix of salsa, cumbia, boogaloo, champeta and African soukous, with dancehall/dub and even a smattering of rare disco. Heavy percussive elements are strung together with echoing sound system identifications (“Yo soy el rey!”)

38

in a rhythmic celebration that truly represents the African descendants here on the northern coast of Colombia. While most of the nation’s contemporary musical culture revolves around reggaeton, vallenato and global pop music, DJs on the coast are keeping the sound system culture alive. The aesthetic may have shifted, with intricate art and construction giving way to a digital influence featuring modern champeta and dancehall, but the picós clásicos of Santa Elena, Cartagena and Barranquilla are making a comeback. The DJs who operate these sound systems are paying homage to what they heard and saw growing up, both through the music they play and the art they decorate their equipment with. Many of them say that local resident Fabian Altahona and his Africolombia blog are responsible for their revived interest in the clásicos.

Fabian fell in love with music at an early age, going to hear his brother’s picó “Verbena Los Mochileros” and other famous sound systems that were a constant presence in his neighborhood. Through this early exposure, he gained first-hand experience with the music and culture of the sound system. This passion and experience combined with his computer programming studies allowed him to start Africolombia, a blog consisting mainly of MP3s and album art culled from his collection. A few years ago he published an article with information and photos about the picós, aiding the resurgence in Barranquilla’s classic sound systems and effectively introducing this unique sound to the outside world. The entire record collection from his brother’s Los Mochileros picó is now in Fabian’s house; along with his own finds, this amounts to over 13,000 LPs. He now trades local records with

39


5 CHAMPETA CLASSICS This playlist is representative of the heavy percussive elements that drive the classic picós, including such rhythms as cumbia and salsa from the northern coast of Colombia, Brazilian soul music, dancehall from Jamaica, African soukous and more.

Abelardo Carbono – Quiero a Mi Gente: A distinctly African track from one of the masters of champeta guitar. Lito Barrientos y Su Orquesta – Barrio Alegre: Salsa from Rafaelto, who came from El Salvador but recorded some serious tracks for Colombia’s Discos Fuentes label. Anibal Velasquez – Esa fue: Heavy cumbia from Anibal, who still lives in the barrio of Soledad in Barranquilla. Orchestra Tumba Africa – Resorte Respaldo: A good example of African music that landed on the coast and ultimately led to champeta. Super Cat – Cry Fi De Youth: 80’s digital dancehall to pound the picó speakers.

In brief, picós are homemade mobile sound systems that feature speakers and DJ equipment – a literal party on wheels. Unique to the Caribbean and originally emanating from Cuba and Jamaica, they were originally created as a response to the fact that poorer people weren’t welcome in dance clubs. For them, these picós became their clubs, a place to dance and enjoy the music they wanted to hear. True labors of love, the speaker boxes and equipment were painted with bright, colorful images of keyboard players, tanks at war, African dancers, cobra snakes… visual elements that evoke local history and culture. These gigantic speakers typically push out a mix of salsa, cumbia, boogaloo, champeta and African soukous, with dancehall/dub and even a smattering of rare disco. Heavy percussive elements are strung together with echoing sound system identifications (“Yo soy el rey!”)

38

in a rhythmic celebration that truly represents the African descendants here on the northern coast of Colombia. While most of the nation’s contemporary musical culture revolves around reggaeton, vallenato and global pop music, DJs on the coast are keeping the sound system culture alive. The aesthetic may have shifted, with intricate art and construction giving way to a digital influence featuring modern champeta and dancehall, but the picós clásicos of Santa Elena, Cartagena and Barranquilla are making a comeback. The DJs who operate these sound systems are paying homage to what they heard and saw growing up, both through the music they play and the art they decorate their equipment with. Many of them say that local resident Fabian Altahona and his Africolombia blog are responsible for their revived interest in the clásicos.

Fabian fell in love with music at an early age, going to hear his brother’s picó “Verbena Los Mochileros” and other famous sound systems that were a constant presence in his neighborhood. Through this early exposure, he gained first-hand experience with the music and culture of the sound system. This passion and experience combined with his computer programming studies allowed him to start Africolombia, a blog consisting mainly of MP3s and album art culled from his collection. A few years ago he published an article with information and photos about the picós, aiding the resurgence in Barranquilla’s classic sound systems and effectively introducing this unique sound to the outside world. The entire record collection from his brother’s Los Mochileros picó is now in Fabian’s house; along with his own finds, this amounts to over 13,000 LPs. He now trades local records with

39


These gigantic speakers typically push out a mix of salsa, cumbia, boogaloo, champeta and African soukous

international readers to get those rare African and Jamaican tracks that become sound system exclusives. Such trades and sales have become Fabian’s main source of income – it’s a far cry from the computer technician he thought he’d be just a few years ago. As an art form, the unabashedly communal picó makes perfect sense in sniffing around Barranquilla’s local neighborhoods. Everyone has a porch, and people use them, especially in the intense heat and humidity of a typical August day. Traveling around the city with Fabian, I soon realized the depth of this cultural penetration. He took me to a workshop in which picós are made, where I met 15-year-old DJ Kevin of El Fidel’s “El Ministerio de la Salsa”. He’d been DJing since he was 9. We then met William Gutierrez, one of the most famous picó painters. He began as an artist creating graphics for sound systems and tiendas, and

now teaches at the university while back in school pursuing a masters degree in art instruction. I was also able to spend one night in an “estadero”, essentially a cantina that felt more or less like proprietor Carmen Jiminez’s living room. A few chairs and a side room with a fridge full of beer were all that marked it as a bar – there wasn’t even a sign on the street. Despite its unassuming appearance, this estadero is home to the “Salsa de Puerto Rico “ picó. That night, Carmen’s son Martin was playing heavy tunes off dusty but beautiful sounding LPs from Colombia, Angola, New York and Jamaica on the sound system. These played through a speaker on the patio, loud enough to reach everyone in the entire neighborhood. His DJ equipment is nothing more than one turntable, a few knobs standing in for a mixer, and a CD player to broadcast the sound system identifications.

Whether at a bar or on the street, picó culture is everywhere in the typical neighborhoods of Barranquilla. As Fabian and I drove around in taxis, the drivers regularly joined our conversations, offering their own memories of and thoughts about the picós. Local radio represents picó culture too, a marked departure from other parts of the country: on Sunday morning, we listened to a show that played 100% African music. This sits well with Fabian, whose true love is the older music of the clásicos. When I asked him what he thought of newer, cruder Colombian music such as La Gata Violadora, he just laughed and said that beyond having a similar rhythmic structure, the new music had nothing to do with the classics that he collects and listens to. Fabian’s passion for collecting and sharing has had the effect of nurturing the memory and history of Colombia’s northern coast. Colombians from abroad have written to him and said they cried when reading about and seeing pictures of the picós. But walking through downtown Barranquilla, seeing record stores full of vinyl next to sidewalk vendors slinging MP3s, the coast’s musical reality comes fully into perspective. Digital technology, the very evolution that now allows Colombian music to travel so far from its roots (albeit often through illegal means with the spread of pirated CDs) is empowering Fabian and a few others like him to revive the culture of picós clásicos through online posting of music, photos and related stories. As cliché as it may sound, this process of representing cumbias

Fabian Altahona (above) spreads Colombia’s coastal picó clásico tradition worldwide through his Africolombia blog, featuring mp3s, album art and more. acbia.wordpress.com

and salsas as digital 1s and 0s is perhaps the primary tool preserving this slice of musical history, preventing it from disappearing once and for all.

Los Reyes del Piso Straight outta Cartacho, these “Kings of the Dancefloor” are one of a growing number of local hip hop collectives

40


These gigantic speakers typically push out a mix of salsa, cumbia, boogaloo, champeta and African soukous

international readers to get those rare African and Jamaican tracks that become sound system exclusives. Such trades and sales have become Fabian’s main source of income – it’s a far cry from the computer technician he thought he’d be just a few years ago. As an art form, the unabashedly communal picó makes perfect sense in sniffing around Barranquilla’s local neighborhoods. Everyone has a porch, and people use them, especially in the intense heat and humidity of a typical August day. Traveling around the city with Fabian, I soon realized the depth of this cultural penetration. He took me to a workshop in which picós are made, where I met 15-year-old DJ Kevin of El Fidel’s “El Ministerio de la Salsa”. He’d been DJing since he was 9. We then met William Gutierrez, one of the most famous picó painters. He began as an artist creating graphics for sound systems and tiendas, and

now teaches at the university while back in school pursuing a masters degree in art instruction. I was also able to spend one night in an “estadero”, essentially a cantina that felt more or less like proprietor Carmen Jiminez’s living room. A few chairs and a side room with a fridge full of beer were all that marked it as a bar – there wasn’t even a sign on the street. Despite its unassuming appearance, this estadero is home to the “Salsa de Puerto Rico “ picó. That night, Carmen’s son Martin was playing heavy tunes off dusty but beautiful sounding LPs from Colombia, Angola, New York and Jamaica on the sound system. These played through a speaker on the patio, loud enough to reach everyone in the entire neighborhood. His DJ equipment is nothing more than one turntable, a few knobs standing in for a mixer, and a CD player to broadcast the sound system identifications.

Whether at a bar or on the street, picó culture is everywhere in the typical neighborhoods of Barranquilla. As Fabian and I drove around in taxis, the drivers regularly joined our conversations, offering their own memories of and thoughts about the picós. Local radio represents picó culture too, a marked departure from other parts of the country: on Sunday morning, we listened to a show that played 100% African music. This sits well with Fabian, whose true love is the older music of the clásicos. When I asked him what he thought of newer, cruder Colombian music such as La Gata Violadora, he just laughed and said that beyond having a similar rhythmic structure, the new music had nothing to do with the classics that he collects and listens to. Fabian’s passion for collecting and sharing has had the effect of nurturing the memory and history of Colombia’s northern coast. Colombians from abroad have written to him and said they cried when reading about and seeing pictures of the picós. But walking through downtown Barranquilla, seeing record stores full of vinyl next to sidewalk vendors slinging MP3s, the coast’s musical reality comes fully into perspective. Digital technology, the very evolution that now allows Colombian music to travel so far from its roots (albeit often through illegal means with the spread of pirated CDs) is empowering Fabian and a few others like him to revive the culture of picós clásicos through online posting of music, photos and related stories. As cliché as it may sound, this process of representing cumbias

Fabian Altahona (above) spreads Colombia’s coastal picó clásico tradition worldwide through his Africolombia blog, featuring mp3s, album art and more. acbia.wordpress.com

and salsas as digital 1s and 0s is perhaps the primary tool preserving this slice of musical history, preventing it from disappearing once and for all.

Los Reyes del Piso Straight outta Cartacho, these “Kings of the Dancefloor” are one of a growing number of local hip hop collectives

40


Text: Jeff Guerra / Photography: Robin Finley

Higher Grounds

Ask any Colombian to tell you three things about Manizales, and one of them will surely be related to coffee. Yes, it is the main production hub in a region that grows some of the world’s best beans, but there’s a lot more here to go alongside your morning cup of joe. Soaring mountains offer panoramic views over lush green slopes, and natural parks abound in this attractive town that is increasingly known for its annual international festivals and quality higher education. Take a trip to the capital of Caldas and you’ll have a new answer to the question, “café con…?”

43


Text: Jeff Guerra / Photography: Robin Finley

Higher Grounds

Ask any Colombian to tell you three things about Manizales, and one of them will surely be related to coffee. Yes, it is the main production hub in a region that grows some of the world’s best beans, but there’s a lot more here to go alongside your morning cup of joe. Soaring mountains offer panoramic views over lush green slopes, and natural parks abound in this attractive town that is increasingly known for its annual international festivals and quality higher education. Take a trip to the capital of Caldas and you’ll have a new answer to the question, “café con…?”

43


Public art, international festivals and an emphasis on higher education mark Manizales as a city on the rise.

The kind people of Manizales are quick to notify you that, while in the department of Caldas, they are actually Paisas, which makes perfect sense to those familiar with the general human warmth for which residents of Antioquia are widely known. They are a pioneering lot as well, and it must have taken the hardiest of their cold bearded explorers to forge ahead and carve a town called Manizales into a madcap series of hills better suited for goats and runaway livestock. Navigating the town’s jagged sawtooth profile by foot is a never-ending cardiovascular up down affair that could only have been ordered up by the most diabolical Austrian aerobics instructor. Being high up in the hills has its merits, of course. As part of Colombia’s so-called “eje cafetero”, Manizales boasts the famously fertile soil native to a coffee-growing region that includes nearby cities Pereira and Armenia, but its altitude means that residents enjoy a moderate mountain climate without much variation throughout the year. There are lush green hues everywhere, and a ten-minute drive up in virtually any direction leads to fantastic mountaintop lookouts. Being somewhat isolated also protected the town from most of the violence and gang warfare that plagued much of Colombia over the past few decades, a fact that seems to have augmented a local belief that citizens here carry that little extra bit of culture in their behavioral DNA. As is the case with many cities in Colombia, there is a strong sense of tradition and socio-economic hierarchy that informs any conversation about who and what moves things here in Manizales. The same surnames crop up again and again; many of these can be traced to the town’s earliest settlers, successful farmers from nearby areas who often used their wealth to send children abroad for quality European education. This

44

The city hosts a number of international events each year, including the renowned Theater and Jazz Festivals.

early experience imbued the population with a flair that persists to this day; it is reflected in their architecture and manner of dress, a point many citizens make to highlight their difference from citizens of other nearby towns (ah, regional competition!) But perhaps more importantly, it is an undeniable root of the city’s current standing as one of Colombia’s major centers of higher education. In fact, there are more universities per capita in Manizales than anywhere else in the country, and it’s

estimated that 1/4 of the local population is comprised of students. According to University of Caldas professor Alex Ortiz, commercial implications at universities in Bogota and Medellin drive much of the educational dialogue in those cities. Unencumbered by such demands, universities in Manizales are able to devise and implement programs that might elsewhere be considered too


Public art, international festivals and an emphasis on higher education mark Manizales as a city on the rise.

The kind people of Manizales are quick to notify you that, while in the department of Caldas, they are actually Paisas, which makes perfect sense to those familiar with the general human warmth for which residents of Antioquia are widely known. They are a pioneering lot as well, and it must have taken the hardiest of their cold bearded explorers to forge ahead and carve a town called Manizales into a madcap series of hills better suited for goats and runaway livestock. Navigating the town’s jagged sawtooth profile by foot is a never-ending cardiovascular up down affair that could only have been ordered up by the most diabolical Austrian aerobics instructor. Being high up in the hills has its merits, of course. As part of Colombia’s so-called “eje cafetero”, Manizales boasts the famously fertile soil native to a coffee-growing region that includes nearby cities Pereira and Armenia, but its altitude means that residents enjoy a moderate mountain climate without much variation throughout the year. There are lush green hues everywhere, and a ten-minute drive up in virtually any direction leads to fantastic mountaintop lookouts. Being somewhat isolated also protected the town from most of the violence and gang warfare that plagued much of Colombia over the past few decades, a fact that seems to have augmented a local belief that citizens here carry that little extra bit of culture in their behavioral DNA. As is the case with many cities in Colombia, there is a strong sense of tradition and socio-economic hierarchy that informs any conversation about who and what moves things here in Manizales. The same surnames crop up again and again; many of these can be traced to the town’s earliest settlers, successful farmers from nearby areas who often used their wealth to send children abroad for quality European education. This

44

The city hosts a number of international events each year, including the renowned Theater and Jazz Festivals.

early experience imbued the population with a flair that persists to this day; it is reflected in their architecture and manner of dress, a point many citizens make to highlight their difference from citizens of other nearby towns (ah, regional competition!) But perhaps more importantly, it is an undeniable root of the city’s current standing as one of Colombia’s major centers of higher education. In fact, there are more universities per capita in Manizales than anywhere else in the country, and it’s

estimated that 1/4 of the local population is comprised of students. According to University of Caldas professor Alex Ortiz, commercial implications at universities in Bogota and Medellin drive much of the educational dialogue in those cities. Unencumbered by such demands, universities in Manizales are able to devise and implement programs that might elsewhere be considered too


Going up and down all these hills can be exhausting, so you might want to avoid wandering around without first planning where you’re going. Here are a few helpful suggestions.

PIT STOP

This new hostel was constructed in a lovely Spanish colonial house in El Cable, a center of nightlife and culture in the heart of Manizales. Pit Stop’s attached bar attracts a fun mix of locals and foreign guests, and there’s even a nice big jacuzzi on the back patio for those cool mountain air nights. Good clean beds, affordable, and great staff service. Calle 65 #23B - 19. Tel: 036-887-3797

CREPES

experimental. Ortiz further claims that a strong sense of individualism among Manizaleños complements this spirit of experimentation. “Here,” he says, “every person is his own mountain.”

town in the mountains with a fair climate and a good bit of culture – oh and by the way, there are young university students running around all over the place, looking to party and go to festivals. Interested yet?

Whether driven by international flair or the need to express its individuality, Manizales does love to show off. The city hosts a number of international events each year, including the renowned Theater and Jazz Festivals in September and October, as well as the annual Manizales Fair that takes place in January. We were there during the 2011 Theater Festival, and judging from the wide age range in attendance it’s clear there is a thick thread of culture being woven into the social fabric. So what we’re saying here is you have a rather attractive

But wait, there’s more! Let’s say you’re the sort who buys multi-pocketed khaki vests from nature catalogs, or maybe just the green warrior poet type who goes all weak in the knees at mention of things like eco-parks and cloud forests and thermal volcanic hot springs. It’s all on offer in the areas surrounding Manizales, notably in Los Nevados National Park. This natural wonderland is located in a dormant volcanic mountain range, and offers some of the only peaks in Colombia that actually receive snow at upper elevations. Hiking, biking and mountaineering are all available to those so inclined; nearby hot springs are also a big draw, with waterfalls and colored lights to boot.

Hiking, biking and mountaineering are all available to those so inclined; nearby hot springs are also a big draw 46

So here is yet another fascinating Colombian town worth visiting, with proud citizens and leadership smart enough to deposit their coffee cash into an educational infrastructure that should offer cultural and economic benefits for generations to come. Get there.

This Manizales classic located off the main strip in La Zona Rosa is a favorite among locals looking for something between fast food and top-end fine dining. With a fresh salad bar and broad menu based on a variety of, you guessed it, crepes, this recently remodeled space offers two floors of airy dining and even a play area downstairs for the kids. Carrera 23C #64- 18. Tel: 036-890-0902

SPAGO

One of the better restaurants we found in Manizales, Spago offers a quality menu of properly prepared Italian food in a relaxed, cozy atmosphere that will suit anything from an office lunch to a romantic dinner for two. Here they’ve thankfully avoided the mistake many Italian restaurants make of offering everything under the Roman sun, instead opting for a few classic antipasti choices and 5-6 main dish options that include baked salmon fillet in pesto sauce, chicken with eggplant marinara, and a classic seafood risotto. It’s quality over quantity at Spago, and good value, too. Calle 59 #24A - 10. Tel: 036-885-3328


Going up and down all these hills can be exhausting, so you might want to avoid wandering around without first planning where you’re going. Here are a few helpful suggestions.

PIT STOP

This new hostel was constructed in a lovely Spanish colonial house in El Cable, a center of nightlife and culture in the heart of Manizales. Pit Stop’s attached bar attracts a fun mix of locals and foreign guests, and there’s even a nice big jacuzzi on the back patio for those cool mountain air nights. Good clean beds, affordable, and great staff service. Calle 65 #23B - 19. Tel: 036-887-3797

CREPES

experimental. Ortiz further claims that a strong sense of individualism among Manizaleños complements this spirit of experimentation. “Here,” he says, “every person is his own mountain.”

town in the mountains with a fair climate and a good bit of culture – oh and by the way, there are young university students running around all over the place, looking to party and go to festivals. Interested yet?

Whether driven by international flair or the need to express its individuality, Manizales does love to show off. The city hosts a number of international events each year, including the renowned Theater and Jazz Festivals in September and October, as well as the annual Manizales Fair that takes place in January. We were there during the 2011 Theater Festival, and judging from the wide age range in attendance it’s clear there is a thick thread of culture being woven into the social fabric. So what we’re saying here is you have a rather attractive

But wait, there’s more! Let’s say you’re the sort who buys multi-pocketed khaki vests from nature catalogs, or maybe just the green warrior poet type who goes all weak in the knees at mention of things like eco-parks and cloud forests and thermal volcanic hot springs. It’s all on offer in the areas surrounding Manizales, notably in Los Nevados National Park. This natural wonderland is located in a dormant volcanic mountain range, and offers some of the only peaks in Colombia that actually receive snow at upper elevations. Hiking, biking and mountaineering are all available to those so inclined; nearby hot springs are also a big draw, with waterfalls and colored lights to boot.

Hiking, biking and mountaineering are all available to those so inclined; nearby hot springs are also a big draw 46

So here is yet another fascinating Colombian town worth visiting, with proud citizens and leadership smart enough to deposit their coffee cash into an educational infrastructure that should offer cultural and economic benefits for generations to come. Get there.

This Manizales classic located off the main strip in La Zona Rosa is a favorite among locals looking for something between fast food and top-end fine dining. With a fresh salad bar and broad menu based on a variety of, you guessed it, crepes, this recently remodeled space offers two floors of airy dining and even a play area downstairs for the kids. Carrera 23C #64- 18. Tel: 036-890-0902

SPAGO

One of the better restaurants we found in Manizales, Spago offers a quality menu of properly prepared Italian food in a relaxed, cozy atmosphere that will suit anything from an office lunch to a romantic dinner for two. Here they’ve thankfully avoided the mistake many Italian restaurants make of offering everything under the Roman sun, instead opting for a few classic antipasti choices and 5-6 main dish options that include baked salmon fillet in pesto sauce, chicken with eggplant marinara, and a classic seafood risotto. It’s quality over quantity at Spago, and good value, too. Calle 59 #24A - 10. Tel: 036-885-3328


Hera sees herself as just a chick with a spray-can, but Jimmy Jinx was determined to strip a few coats off this elusive painter and talk about everything from trip-hop to love and prison. Thanks to Paula Ricciulli for interview and translation assistance.

Text: Jimmy Jinx Portrait: David Rugeles/ Septima Photos Additional Images: Septima Photos In the year 1882, Irish poet, writer and flamboyant dandy Oscar Wilde traveled to the United States to begin a year-long series of lectures on aesthetics. After having been in the country for some time, Wilde was asked by a journalist why America was such a violent country. His response was typically succinct and eloquent: “Because your wallpaper is so ugly!” What at first seems a flippant response is ultimately illuminating – if you put people in an ugly environment, they will do ugly things. While Wilde’s words hinted at the impact of interior design, today’s street artists are similarly concerned with the value of exterior design. At its best, graffiti art adds urgent, stylish commentary to our modern visceral world. What drives these beautifiers of our city walls – why do they commit to this creative cause despite its obvious risks? In 2009 I visited Bogota for the first time, and have been studying its street art scene ever since. This process initially involved endless “graffaris” (graffiti safaris), pounding the city streets with my camera in hopes of stumbling across new work. Over time I began to recognize certain trademark styles and eventually met several of the artists, my favorite of which was Hera. Her style shows the distinct touch of a woman’s hand, both

physically and metaphorically. We persuaded her to set down her spray-can and tell JACK just what makes her tick. Jack: Talk to us about femininity in street art. Hera: People are usually impressed when they hear about women doing graffiti. For me there’s nothing extraordinary about it. We women can do graffiti as well, it´s no different. Femininity is very present in my work – I mostly paint portraits of women. We women have the same strength with the spray-can as men, but we have a more delicate line, as well as a different sense of aesthetic appreciation. J: When we first met you were in an on/ off personal and working relationship with another very talented Bogota graffiti artist, Franco (FCO). What effect has this relationship had on your work? H: We met through graffiti, and I guess that was what bound us. We discovered how to set up foundations, how to make money from art together, and I think we’ve had an equal creative influence on one another. It´s true that you need space creatively and emotionally, but we always pursued personal projects to do individual work. Maybe we grew apart emotionally, but we´re still friends and continue working together with Estereo Graphico.


Hera sees herself as just a chick with a spray-can, but Jimmy Jinx was determined to strip a few coats off this elusive painter and talk about everything from trip-hop to love and prison. Thanks to Paula Ricciulli for interview and translation assistance.

Text: Jimmy Jinx Portrait: David Rugeles/ Septima Photos Additional Images: Septima Photos In the year 1882, Irish poet, writer and flamboyant dandy Oscar Wilde traveled to the United States to begin a year-long series of lectures on aesthetics. After having been in the country for some time, Wilde was asked by a journalist why America was such a violent country. His response was typically succinct and eloquent: “Because your wallpaper is so ugly!” What at first seems a flippant response is ultimately illuminating – if you put people in an ugly environment, they will do ugly things. While Wilde’s words hinted at the impact of interior design, today’s street artists are similarly concerned with the value of exterior design. At its best, graffiti art adds urgent, stylish commentary to our modern visceral world. What drives these beautifiers of our city walls – why do they commit to this creative cause despite its obvious risks? In 2009 I visited Bogota for the first time, and have been studying its street art scene ever since. This process initially involved endless “graffaris” (graffiti safaris), pounding the city streets with my camera in hopes of stumbling across new work. Over time I began to recognize certain trademark styles and eventually met several of the artists, my favorite of which was Hera. Her style shows the distinct touch of a woman’s hand, both

physically and metaphorically. We persuaded her to set down her spray-can and tell JACK just what makes her tick. Jack: Talk to us about femininity in street art. Hera: People are usually impressed when they hear about women doing graffiti. For me there’s nothing extraordinary about it! We women can do graffiti as well, it´s no different. Femininity is very present in my work – I mostly paint portraits of women. We women have the same strength with the spray-can as men, but we have a more delicate line, as well as a different sense of aesthetic appreciation. J: When we first met you were in an on/ off personal and working relationship with another very talented Bogota graffiti artist, Franco (FCO). What effect has this relationship had on your work? H: We met through graffiti, and I guess that was what bound us. We discovered how to set up foundations, how to make money from art together, and I think we’ve had an equal creative influence on one another. It´s true that you need space creatively and emotionally, but we always pursued personal projects to do individual work. Maybe we grew apart emotionally, but we´re still friends and continue working together with Estereo Graphico.


I paint to evolve and have a new challenge every day. J: In theory, street art represents a true freedom of political and creative expression. Colombia has much to say in both respects – to what extent does the government suppress or support street art in Bogota? J: Does your emotional self affect your art, or do you detach yourself from it? H: Can I paint when I´m furious? Yes! Happy or sad, emotion is the energy! J: How does music affect your painting? H: What I listen to depends on my mood, but generally while I’m sketching I like to listen to more mellow stuff like Tricky. While I’m painting I listen to something more upbeat that keeps me motivated – dancehall is good! I actually like to listen to any kind of music while I am painting as long as there’s sound. I hate silence, so any noise is good.

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H: What do they do? Nothing! Three years ago, with the last mayor, they had an initiative where they dedicated some walls and had a competition, but that was it. After what happened to Tripido (a 16-year-old artist killed by Bogota police earlier this year), it seems relationships between artists and officials are at a real low. J: Have you ever been arrested? H: Yes, I was in the UPJ twice and it isn´t very nice. The first time was the worst – women and men are split, and I was the only girl in the group. I remember sitting on the floor and crying, mainly because I knew my mom had to come and get me, and that she would kick my

ass! After that I had to keep my graffiti a secret from her for two years until I started to earn some money. Now she often comes to watch me work. J: Tell us about your foundation. H: I have three different projects: Horda S.A, Casasha, and Bosque Estereográfico, all of them in Soacha. Young people can learn about graffiti, rap music, break dancing and self-expression. It provides an alternative to stealing or getting involved with drugs, but I don’t really see them as foundations, really more as a group of friends who hang out and have fun. It´s informal, and I believe that is the only way it can function. Kids come and go and we try to encourage them to express themselves creatively and give them the tools to do so, and then to teach others! At the moment we are doing a project in La Florida (Soacha) with the United Nations because that is where displaced people often first arrive in Bogota, and the conditions there are very tough. We have found some really talented people through the foundations, and the main way people can help is to look at their work on my website and hopefully employ them!

J: Commercial graffiti is pretty evident in Bogota, what´s your view on it? H: I don’t necessarily have a problem because it shows that brands are interested in it as a way of expression. As long as the artist is free to incorporate his or her personal style it still has artistic value. Some companies don’t appreciate the time and effort a person puts into a wall, so they pay poor prices for a piece. Also, I disagree with the fact that some companies have exclusive permission to paint on certain walls. It shouldn’t be like that, because eventually everybody is going to see it and it’s public property. J: Is graffiti an addiction? H: Yes, there’s certainly something addictive about art, because there’s the constant anxiety to be better. I paint to evolve and have a new challenge every day. J: What would your chosen epitaph be? H: Warrior goddess!

septima.com.co

51


I paint to evolve and have a new challenge every day. J: In theory, street art represents a true freedom of political and creative expression. Colombia has much to say in both respects – to what extent does the government suppress or support street art in Bogota? J: Does your emotional self affect your art, or do you detach yourself from it? H: Can I paint when I´m furious? Yes! Happy or sad, emotion is the energy! J: How does music affect your painting? H: What I listen to depends on my mood, but generally while I’m sketching I like to listen to more mellow stuff like Tricky. While I’m painting I listen to something more upbeat that keeps me motivated – dancehall is good! I actually like to listen to any kind of music while I am painting as long as there’s sound. I hate silence, so any noise is good.

50

H: What do they do? Nothing! Three years ago, with the last mayor, they had an initiative where they dedicated some walls and had a competition, but that was it. After what happened to Tripido (a 16-year-old artist killed by Bogota police earlier this year), it seems relationships between artists and officials are at a real low. J: Have you ever been arrested? H: Yes, I was in the UPJ twice and it isn´t very nice. The first time was the worst – women and men are split, and I was the only girl in the group. I remember sitting on the floor and crying, mainly because I knew my mom had to come and get me, and that she would kick my

ass! After that I had to keep my graffiti a secret from her for two years until I started to earn some money. Now she often comes to watch me work. J: Tell us about your foundation. H: I have three different projects: Horda S.A, Casasha, and Bosque Estereográfico, all of them in Soacha. Young people can learn about graffiti, rap music, break dancing and self-expression. It provides an alternative to stealing or getting involved with drugs, but I don’t really see them as foundations, really more as a group of friends who hang out and have fun. It´s informal, and I believe that is the only way it can function. Kids come and go and we try to encourage them to express themselves creatively and give them the tools to do so, and then to teach others! At the moment we are doing a project in La Florida (Soacha) with the United Nations because that is where displaced people often first arrive in Bogota, and the conditions there are very tough. We have found some really talented people through the foundations, and the main way people can help is to look at their work on my website and hopefully employ them!

J: Commercial graffiti is pretty evident in Bogota, what´s your view on it? H: I don’t necessarily have a problem because it shows that brands are interested in it as a way of expression. As long as the artist is free to incorporate his or her personal style it still has artistic value. Some companies don’t appreciate the time and effort a person puts into a wall, so they pay poor prices for a piece. Also, I disagree with the fact that some companies have exclusive permission to paint on certain walls. It shouldn’t be like that, because eventually everybody is going to see it and it’s public property. J: Is graffiti an addiction? H: Yes, there’s certainly something addictive about art, because there’s the constant anxiety to be better. I paint to evolve and have a new challenge every day. J: What would your chosen epitaph be? H: Warrior goddess!

septima.com.co

51


Text: Camila Álvarez Photography: Fantauzzi Brothers

A trio of documentary filmmakers recently came to Colombia to record how a vibrant hip hop movement is helping transform Medellin’s Comuna 13 through peaceful revolution and artistic expression.

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C15 didn’t make it to Altavoz, Colombia’s second-largest music festival. Said 27 year-old band member Jeihhco, “Tonight we didn’t make the final cut… We put in the time and the work to make it happen, but in the end it’s up to the individual judges, and this year they weren’t feeling C15.“ Jeihhco is the leader of La Elite, a collective that’s spent over 9 years as a youth initiative promoting peace through hip hop. Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi and his crew have been following and recording Jeihhco all day.


Text: Camila Álvarez Photography: Fantauzzi Brothers

A trio of documentary filmmakers recently came to Colombia to record how a vibrant hip hop movement is helping transform Medellin’s Comuna 13 through peaceful revolution and artistic expression.

52

C15 didn’t make it to Altavoz, Colombia’s second-largest music festival. Said 27 year-old band member Jeihhco, “Tonight we didn’t make the final cut… We put in the time and the work to make it happen, but in the end it’s up to the individual judges, and this year they weren’t feeling C15.“ Jeihhco is the leader of La Elite, a collective that’s spent over 9 years as a youth initiative promoting peace through hip hop. Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi and his crew have been following and recording Jeihhco all day.


“...hip hop has an inexorable power to awaken people; this power pushes them to overcome obstacles and reclaim their right to free expression”

Korte Arkana, also part of La Elite, did make it. Two hours after his own disappointment, Jeihhco was singing out loud and celebrating with his friends. Jota, one of Arkana’s MCs, described how hip-hop changed his goals and ambitions during a dark time in his teenage years, when he was suffocating behind bars with fear and uncertainty. Jacobs-Fantauzzi is a Puerto Rican-American film director who has always been inspired by the fact that hip hop has an inexorable power to awaken people; this power pushes them to overcome obstacles and reclaim their right to free expression. It’s exactly what he strived to capture with his past two documentaries: Inventos: Hip Hop Cubano and HomeGrown: Hiplife in Ghana. Now he is here in Medellín to do it again, accompanied by brother Kahlil, a 5th grade world history teacher who produced his past two films, and Andrés Celin, a 22 yearold anthropologist from Cali.

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Eli decided on Colombia after meeting Andrés in November last year during one of his screenings at Haverford College in Philadelphia. Celin had become familiar with the hip hop movement in Medellín through ACJ-YMCA, a non-profit organization he had been working with, and explained how it has become an antidote to the violence and cynicism that had poisoned the city for so long. In February, Eli wrote to Andrés and asked him to produce his next film. They titled the project Revolución Sin Muertos (“Revolution Without Death”), in reference to the annual hip hop festival organized by La Elite as a space for young people from the comunas to use music as a means of expressing the difficulties they’re exposed to. Fundraising efforts for the film were carried out using indiegogo.com, an online platform that lets anyone create a campaign and share it with the world. In June, the production team stepped onto Colombian soil with a Sony EX1 HD, US$10,267, and no script.

Eli doesn’t follow a script; he likes his work to be organic, following contagious drum beats to the rooftops where young girls choose choreography over unwanted pregnancy. His camera follows the hypnotic sounds of a clarinet being played by a tall, skinny 16 year-old black kid named ‘Bombi’ with arched eyebrows and braids hanging from a side ponytail, and trails off to a room where a Son Batá collective band called Bantú introduces us to chirimía, folkloric music from the Pacific coast. He follows graffiti artist ‘El Perro’ up and down the steep alleys of the comuna to show messages of life, peace, and hope he and his friends have artfully carved into otherwise decaying walls. Eli follows these stories all day long, thinking about how to weave them all together in a way that captures the essence of what’s really going on. How will it all unfold?

he likes his work to be organic, following contagious drum beats to the rooftops where young girls choose choreography over unwanted pregnancy.

Check it out online at clenchedfistproductions.com

55


“...hip hop has an inexorable power to awaken people; this power pushes them to overcome obstacles and reclaim their right to free expression”

Korte Arkana, also part of La Elite, did make it. Two hours after his own disappointment, Jeihhco was singing out loud and celebrating with his friends. Jota, one of Arkana’s MCs, described how hip-hop changed his goals and ambitions during a dark time in his teenage years, when he was suffocating behind bars with fear and uncertainty. Jacobs-Fantauzzi is a Puerto Rican-American film director who has always been inspired by the fact that hip hop has an inexorable power to awaken people; this power pushes them to overcome obstacles and reclaim their right to free expression. It’s exactly what he strived to capture with his past two documentaries: Inventos: Hip Hop Cubano and HomeGrown: Hiplife in Ghana. Now he is here in Medellín to do it again, accompanied by brother Kahlil, a 5th grade world history teacher who produced his past two films, and Andrés Celin, a 22 yearold anthropologist from Cali.

54

Eli decided on Colombia after meeting Andrés in November last year during one of his screenings at Haverford College in Philadelphia. Celin had become familiar with the hip hop movement in Medellín through ACJ-YMCA, a non-profit organization he had been working with, and explained how it has become an antidote to the violence and cynicism that had poisoned the city for so long. In February, Eli wrote to Andrés and asked him to produce his next film. They titled the project Revolución Sin Muertos (“Revolution Without Death”), in reference to the annual hip hop festival organized by La Elite as a space for young people from the comunas to use music as a means of expressing the difficulties they’re exposed to. Fundraising efforts for the film were carried out using indiegogo.com, an online platform that lets anyone create a campaign and share it with the world. In June, the production team stepped onto Colombian soil with a Sony EX1 HD, US$10,267, and no script.

Eli doesn’t follow a script; he likes his work to be organic, following contagious drum beats to the rooftops where young girls choose choreography over unwanted pregnancy. His camera follows the hypnotic sounds of a clarinet being played by a tall, skinny 16 year-old black kid named ‘Bombi’ with arched eyebrows and braids hanging from a side ponytail, and trails off to a room where a Son Batá collective band called Bantú introduces us to chirimía, folkloric music from the Pacific coast. He follows graffiti artist ‘El Perro’ up and down the steep alleys of the comuna to show messages of life, peace, and hope he and his friends have artfully carved into otherwise decaying walls. Eli follows these stories all day long, thinking about how to weave them all together in a way that captures the essence of what’s really going on. How will it all unfold?

he likes his work to be organic, following contagious drum beats to the rooftops where young girls choose choreography over unwanted pregnancy.

Check it out online at clenchedfistproductions.com

55


Argemiro Sierra After years spent designing clothes for private companies, Argemiro Sierra took the leap and created his own self-titled line. Having since landed runways in France, Germany, Mexico and the United States in addition to appearing at every major Colombian fashion show, the decision has proved cogent. Argemiro’s sleek, simple designs transcend cheap fads and 6-month trends, exposing individuality from within rather than having it superficially imposed. He describes his typical consumer as someone wanting to show a hint of seduction without being too forward; an effortless sexiness. You can find his newest collection at his flagship store in Medellin, as well as in Bogota, Cali, and Bucaramanga. argemirosierra.com

La Libertad Federico Castrillón is a jeweler who has been putting out annual collections of limited edition adornments since 2006 under the name La Libertad. It started with a pilot project imprinting on clothes, leading to a crude jewelry laboratory of silver, bronze, and epoxy resins which became the source for La Libertad’s technique of printing graphic impressions onto earrings, necklaces and bracelets. But these are more than just trendy aseccories: they are modern day runes playing on themes of psychology, sexuality, mythology, and the behaviors we impose upon the world as seen in the collection above, entitled carnivorismo salvaje. vivalalibertad.com

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Argemiro Sierra After years spent designing clothes for private companies, Argemiro Sierra took the leap and created his own self-titled line. Having since landed runways in France, Germany, Mexico and the United States in addition to appearing at every major Colombian fashion show, the decision has proved cogent. Argemiro’s sleek, simple designs transcend cheap fads and 6-month trends, exposing individuality from within rather than having it superficially imposed. He describes his typical consumer as someone wanting to show a hint of seduction without being too forward; an effortless sexiness. You can find his newest collection at his flagship store in Medellin, as well as in Bogota, Cali, and Bucaramanga. argemirosierra.com

La Libertad Federico Castrillón is a jeweler who has been putting out annual collections of limited edition adornments since 2006 under the name La Libertad. It started with a pilot project imprinting on clothes, leading to a crude jewelry laboratory of silver, bronze, and epoxy resins which became the source for La Libertad’s technique of printing graphic impressions onto earrings, necklaces and bracelets. But these are more than just trendy aseccories: they are modern day runes playing on themes of psychology, sexuality, mythology, and the behaviors we impose upon the world as seen in the collection above, entitled carnivorismo salvaje. vivalalibertad.com

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Cartagena’s Ixel Moda just closed its fourth annual fashion exhibition in September. The three-day event was the biggest to date, with over 8,000 attendees and seven runways. Ixel Moda has gained significant attention for its inclusion of bloggers, academics and fashion entrepreneurs.

( Clockwise from left ) Isabel Henao - La Trama de Piel, Francis Montesinos - Made in Spain, Francis Montesinos, Ricardo Pava – Spring/Summer 2012

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Aleja Navarro

Aleja Pereira

Aleja Ahumada

Alejandra Buitrago Alejandra Castaño Ana Calle

Andrea Buitrago

Angie Giraldo

Carla Ossa

Carolina Bolivar

Carolina García

Carolina López

Carolina Méndez

Carolina Muriel

Carolina Suárez

Catalina Uribe

Catalina Llanes

Catalina Serna

Clara Hernández

Coki Martínez

Cristina Camargo

Daniela Castaño

Daniela Llanos

Daniela Peters

Daniela Pinedo

Danielle Ordoñez

Dara Ochoa

Diana Álvarez

Diana Correa

Ingrid Moreno

Johana Toro

Juana Martínez

Karen Castrillo

Karen Gaurisas

Karol Jaramillo

Kathy Sánchez

Katty Valoyes

Laura Montoya

Lauris Molina

Law Arango

Liliana Torres

Lina Mar

Lina Uribe

Lorena Lazaro

Lorena Ramírez

Lorenza Piedrahita Macri Vélez

Manuela Sánchez

Maria Cristina Diaz

Maria Gonzalez

Maria Penagos

Maria Teresa Mora Maria Uribe

Marli Velásquez

Mayis Jaramillo

Mariana López

Colombia . Medellín . Bogotá . www.informamodels.com . www.facebook.com/informamodels . @informamodels



Jack 14 - Fall Winter