您现在的位置: 纽约时报中英文网 >> 纽约时报中英文版 >> 文化 >> 正文


更新时间:2018-2-24 19:49:02 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The surprising origin of Colombian folk music

When I landed at Alfonso López Pumarejo airport just south of Valledupar, the capital of the César region in northern Colombia, it was the first time in 12 years that I had been back to my father’s homeland. The intense tropical heat hit me like a tidal wave, soaking me in sweat the moment I stepped outside. Maybe it bothered me less when I was 16, but I have since grown accustomed to Germany’s crisp climate.

我降落在哥伦比亚北部塞萨尔(César)地区首府巴耶杜帕尔(Valledupar)南部的阿方索·洛佩斯·普雷马霍(Alfonso López Pumarejo)机场,这是我12年来首次回到父亲的家乡。强烈的热带高温向我袭来,我刚走出来就已大汗淋漓。也许在我16岁的时候并不会感到如此困扰,但是如今我已习惯了德国清凉的气候。

“Aqui señor, aqui!” A dozen taxi drivers vied for my business the moment I set foot on the pavement outside the arrivals gate. Desperate to escape the cacophony, I sought refuge in the closest taxi, and with the radio at full volume, we began the hour-long drive south to the village of Codazzi, my father’s hometown. With the windows rolled down, the thick Colombian heat filled the taxi, colliding with the energetic notes of vallenato, northern Colombia’s traditional folk music.

"Aqui señor,aqui!"我一走出到达口,踏上人行道,一打出租车司机争相过来揽客。由于急切想逃离喧闹,我飞快钻进了最近的出租车,司机将收音机音量调到最大,我们便开始了向父亲家乡科达奇村(Codazzi)南下的一个小时车程。将车窗摇下,强烈的哥伦比亚热浪充满了出租车,与哥伦比亚北部民间音乐瓦伽娜多的动感旋律激情碰撞。

The voice emanating from the speakers was that of a man desperately trying to win back the heart of his lost love. His forlorn lyrics – Vuelve mi amor, Vuelve! (Come back to me darling, come back to me!) – were accompanied by the reedy notes of an accordion. “People here don’t tell stories – we sing them with the sound of accordions,” said Emilio, my taxi driver, with a smile on his face as he turned up the volume and starting to sing along.

扬声器发出的声音是一名绝望的男子试图重新赢回他失去的爱人的心。他绝望的歌词写道——Vuelve mi amor,Vuelve!(回到我身边吧亲爱的,回到我身边!)——为之伴奏的是手风琴的声音。"这里的人们不讲故事——我们在手风琴的旋律里把它们唱出来,"我的出租车司机埃米利奥(Emilio)笑着说道,同时他调高音量开始一起唱了起来。

Even without the accordion’s hum filling my ears, its influence was hard to miss. César’s streets were littered with murals and monuments depicting the pleated instrument, and its wheezing melodies seemed to ooze from every open window.


My father had always loved vallenato music, so I wasn’t shocked to discover that it was the soundtrack to life in his boyhood home. What is surprising, however, is that the driving force behind Colombia’s acclaimed folk music is not Colombian at all – it’s German.


The accordion travelled to Colombia in the mid-19th Century aboard German merchant ships that landed at La Guajira, the northernmost tip of South America. The German sailors traded their musical instruments with Colombians in exchange for food and other wares. When the Germans set sail for home, they unknowingly left behind the foundations of a lasting legacy: it didn’t take long for local troubadours to incorporate the accordion into their repertoires, and Colombian poets followed suit.

19世纪中叶,德国商船停泊在南美最北端的瓜希拉(La Guajira),手风琴也随之而来到哥伦比亚。德国水手用他们的乐器来跟哥伦比亚人交换食物和其他物品。当德国水手启程回家时,他们无意间留下了不朽遗产的基础:当地吟游诗人很快便将手风琴加入到他们的乐曲中,而哥伦比亚的诗人随后开始如法炮制。

Soon, the accordion become an ensemble instrument. Musicians paired its distinct sound with those of local instruments, like the caja (a Colombian version of a bongo drum) and the guacharaca (a ribbed wooden instrument you rub with a fork to produce a vibrating sound), replacing the gaita (Colombian flute) as the primary instrument in folk music. Although French and Italian accordions also found their way to Colombia, it was Germany’s Hohner-brand diatonic accordion that best suited the average Colombian singer's vocal pitch.


The upbeat rhythms and poetic lyrics of vallenato quickly attracted a fierce following, and today, more than 150 years after its arrival in the country, the German accordion has become an integral part of Colombian storytelling. Twentieth Century Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez declared himself a big admirer of the genre – he even dubbed his masterpiece, One Hundred Years of Solitude, a ‘vallenato song of 400 pages’. Today, kids across Colombia ask for accordions for Christmas.

瓦伽娜多欢快的节奏和诗意的歌词迅速引来了热烈的追随,今天,在它到达哥伦比亚150多年以后,德国手风琴已经成为哥伦比亚人叙事的重要组成部分。二十世纪诺贝尔奖获得者加夫列尔·加西亚·马尔克斯(Gabriel García Márquez)自称是这种音乐流派的狂热粉丝——他甚至将自己的巨著《百年孤独》(One Hundred Years of Solitude)称为一首"400页的瓦伽娜多歌曲"。今天,全哥伦比亚的儿童都希望能获得手风琴作为圣诞礼物。

As my cousin Cocho and I sipped Scotch – a surprisingly common drink in this part of the country – in front of his house in Codazzi, more than a dozen neighbours stopped by to greet us, some even sitting down to share a drink and a story.


“Did you know Francisco ‘El Hombre’ defeated the devil playing the accordion?” one asked while refilling my glass. “Of course. He was the best accordion player in history,” I responded, remembering the many times my father told me the story as a kid. The vallenato musician was returning home from the city of Riohacha on the La Guajira coast when the devil appeared and challenged him to an accordion duel, which Francisco won. It was just one of many regional tall tales starring accordion players.

"你知道弗朗西斯科'El Hombre'弹奏手风琴击败魔鬼的故事吗?"在为我斟满酒杯时一个人问道。"当然。他是有史以来最好的手风琴乐手,"我回答道,回想起小时候父亲多次向我讲述的故事。瓦伽娜多音乐家正要从瓜希拉海岸的里奥阿查市(Riohacha)返回家乡,这时魔鬼出现了,并且要与他进行手风琴决斗,而最后弗朗西斯科赢了。这只是当地众多有关著名手风琴乐手的传说之一。

The next morning I followed my family east of town to the banks of a slow-moving river, where Codazzi residents regularly gather for lunches of sancocho, a soup made with pork, beef, chicken, potato and plantain. In the shade of mango trees, families crowded around mixing bowls and cutting boards, their hips swaying to the punchy vallenato melodies pouring from portable radios. “Turn that volume up!” my 83-year-old grandmother demanded, her hands deftly wielding a paring knife that vanquished one potato after the next. It seemed like everyone was competing for the title of loudest and most festive.


Later that afternoon, I joined my cousin Daniel for a swim in the river. “You can’t leave Codazzi without attending a piqueria [a ‘duel’ between two accordion players],” he told me as we floated lazily. “Let me take you tonight.”


I could hear the bellow of the accordions before I even entered the venue. People cheered while the musicians’ hands flew over the keys, releasing a complex string of notes as they pumped life into the instrument with the rhythmic push and pull of its flexible body. When one contestant finished, his competitor responded with a verse even more complicated in an attempt to mock his opponent. Although this was an amateur competition, you could see these contenders had been playing the accordion their whole life. As naturally as breathing, the musicians filled the accordions’ bodies with air and expelled it to release detailed musical phrases that delighted their audience.


César is not the only region that celebrates the sounds of the accordion; vallenato has spread throughout the rest of the country. In 2015 it was inscribed on Unesco’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage, and Colombians commemorate their love of the music every spring at the Festival de la Leyenda Vallenata.

塞萨尔并非唯一庆祝手风琴声音的地区,瓦伽娜多在这个国家的其他地方同样风靡。2015年它入选联合国教科文组织非物质文化遗产名录,哥伦比亚人每年春天在瓦伽娜多节(Festival de la Leyenda Vallenata)上庆祝他们所热爱的音乐。

I was raised on vallenato – I even studied the accordion as a child. But after living in Germany for more than eight years, my appreciation for the genre had waned. Several days later when I boarded my flight back to Europe, the sounds of accordions were still ringing in my ears. This time I would be more careful not to leave this part of my culture too far behind.