What was the Colombian rhythm that Gabriel García Márquez loved the most?

Gabo’s life was surrounded by the sound of accordions and guacharacas that blend into a well-known Colombian music genre called Vallenato. Get to know why!

Gabriel García Márquez thought there was an intimate relationship between his literature and vallenato music. In the late 1960’s, for instance, he defined his most relevant novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude, as “a Vallenato of 400 pages”.

 Nothing was more rewarding to Gabo than telling stories, so he felt deeply connected with the origin of this rhythm. The Colombian Nobel laureate said:

Vallenato has a strictly narrative origin as it was an instrument of the 19th century minstrels that went from town to town singing their stories [throughout Colombia’s northeast]

Gabriel García Márquez and Rafael Escalona

In addition to his passion for Vallenato, the Colombian author had a close friendship with Rafael Escalona—one of the most important composers of vallenato music.

Esclona declared to Semana Magazine:

Gabo is one of the best singers I have ever met. And I’m not saying this just to please him, but because in our parties he got so excited that he suddenly began to sing

“Francisco el hombre”, a character that appears in One Hundred Years of Solitude (ancient globetrotter of almost 200 years that visited Macondo frequently singing his own songs), was inspired in Escalona, the composer of the famous Colombian song “La casa en el aire”.

A couple of facts about Vallenato

Vallenato is a Spanish term that stands for “born in the valley”. It is used to define the well-known popular folk rhythm originated in the northeast of Colombia, as well as the natives from the city of Valledupar.

Vallenato music blends the sounds of typical Colombian instruments such as guacharacas, gaita flutes and cajas vallenatas; among with other inherited instruments such as accordions, guitars and pianos.

One last thought…

Gabriel García Márquez wrote in an article published in May 1948:

I don’t know what communicative secret the accordion hides but when we hear it we become sentimental

This feeling, combined with the relevance of Vallenato in his works, shows how important this Colombian rhythm was for the creator of the worldwide famous fictional location of Macondo.

Get to know more about Gabo and celebrate the work and life of our most important author!

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