Chamame festival opens in Argentina with a night of music, dance

Corrientes, Jan 13 (IANS) The city of Corrientes in northeastern Argentina came alive with music and dance Friday night to mark the beginning of the 28th Chamame Festival.

Every year, the 10-day long festival, one of the longest in the calendar of summer festivals in the South American country and one of the most important, showcases Chamame, a folk music and dance genre, which might soon find itself on Unesco’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

“This music and dance genre is the common culture shared by around 30 million people. And common culture is what identifies a nation for what it is,” the art director of the festival, Eduardo Sivori, told Efe news.

Chamame as a dance form involves natural improvisation during performance, it has ancient Guarani roots and has various versions owing to European and African influences.

The lyrics – which are set to music with guitars, accordions, pianos or bandoneons – speak of beliefs, traditions, love, estrangement, social issues and topics such as discrimination in Corrientes, a part of the country that has never been considered to be especially important.

“Chamame is music and dance inextricably united. Something similar to what happens with tango,” said Sivori, who added that a total of 150,000 people are expected to attend the event.

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