Afro-Colombian folk-rap ensemble Kombilesa Mi (“My friends” in Palenquero) hails from San Basilio de Palenque, the first free black town in the Americas. The group overlays traditional Colombian rhythms and instruments of Afro-Caribbean descent, originally from Angola, with rap in a hybrid language of Bantu, Spanish, Portuguese, and French.
The village’s proud musical inheritance, renowned for such groups as Sexteto Tabala and Son Palenque, and considered to be the birthplace of champeta, is cross-pollinated with the global export of Afro-American hip hop. Instead of drum machines and samples, the band lays down beats with traditional drums like the Tambora, the marímbula, the tambor alegre, and maracas. The outcome is a bright, joyful, and proud expression of folk hip hop with the rural terroir of an Afro-Carribean village.
The band nicknames their style "RFP", which means Rap Folklórico Palenquero – a mix of cumbia, son de negro, mapalé and son palenquero. It’s not just a musical genre, but a broader social movement connecting past to present for audiences both inside and outside Palenque.
Funded in part by the New England States Touring program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program and the six New England state arts agencies.
This event is presented in collaboration with Genuine Culture.