October 22, 2010
Cumaral and Aguazul
Travelers: Olivia Cadaval, Cristina Díaz-Carrera, Juanita García, Janeth Reyes, María Angélica Rodríguez, Carlos Rojas, Ana Veydó; Van guide René Montero, Yaguarundi Travels
Fieldwork base: Hotel Señorial, Aguazul, Department of Casanare
• Visit with Magdalena Plazas and Arnulfo Pinto in their home in Cumaral
• Meet with Félix Chaparro and Cristián Rosillo at the cultural center in Aguazul
• Join Félix with Argemiro Pirabán and a couple of musicians at his ranch, hato La Graciela in Aguazul
In Cumaral, we visit with Magdalena Plazas and Arnulfo Pinto in their home, which Arnulfo has turned into a museum of ranching implements. After Arnulfo gives us a tour, they do some dance demonstrations in their living room, dressed in traditional llanero outfits.
We then drive to Aguazul where we meet Félix and Cristián at the cultural center. Later we meet rancher Argemiro Pirabán, who invites us to breakfast the next day. Felix makes some calls to see if we can arrange sleeping at his ranch, hato La Graciela, but we would need hammocks and mosquito nets, so we simply decide to go to the ranch for some music and dancing, and then sleep in the hotel.
At the ranch, Félix shows us around the place and the botalón, the post they use for roping the cattle. We also walk by the river looking at the local birds. We then join the rest of the group in the caney, a thatched open salon, where Freiman Cárdenas (he participated with Grupo Cimarron in the 2009 Música de las Américas Folklife Festival Program), Cristián, Felix, Carlos, and other musicians play while others dance. Ana shows Cristina some joropo steps.
—Olivia Cadaval, curator
The entrance to Hato La Graciela in Aguazul, Department of Casanare. Photo by María Angélica Rodríguez Ibáñez