Fabiola Bald | Dagua Girls and Boys in the Pacific Heading to the New York Flower Festival?

The ancestors learn rhythms, play with words, make instruments with guadua and seeds from the region: thus the group of girls and boys in Dagua (Valle del Cauca) who seek to participate in the Flower Fair of Nueva York to which he was invited.

A pedagogy with a logic of dedication, with a vision of integrality and perception, is how the musician Manuel Castellanos works with the two groups that involve 70 girls, two in the urban area and five in the villages.

In the document Manigua Colombia, the Colombian music and performing arts of the mestizos, it can be read that the method that bears the same name “is the result of a process of more than 20 years of research, training and production in traditional music and performing arts around the experimentation of practical knowledge that seeks to integrate the structural elements of human education into the daily life of coexistence and creativity through art and communication”.

The letter adds that “entering in a systematic, progressive, creative and permanent way the complexity of the boy and the girl, also approaching from the approach of Edgar Morin, in relation to the traditions that within the framework of everyday life are recreated and redefined in the logical and natural a game of questions and answers, leading us along paths of interconnection and experience…”.

The state abandoned the communities in the region where Dagua is located, a childhood that was supposed to ward off sadness, and for this reason Manuel made a commitment that his method was not only to play an instrument, but also to learn to eat well, to live together, an action that is a whole that is expressed through music, and they also understand that behind the scene, a family, a society, is involved.

“However, the difficulties are compounded by extreme poverty and complex conditions within families,” says Manuel, the singer-songwriter of the Youth Anthem of the 2021 protests in our dilapidated republic with feudal underbelly.

Manuel is thrilled when he returns to a place where he put his Manigua method into practice and finds his former students training others, so he insists that he train trainers.

Her work in the South Pacific region has her innovative and strong method that seeks to rethink what is Afro and emphasizes in the conversation that “I saw the change in the lives of the children”, for them, for them “they move their soul “, despite the fact that “the most important difficulties are the lack of access to educational facilities due to the fact that most of them live in very remote places and the climatic conditions, especially due to the rains, make access very difficult, in addition, transport is very scarce and complex”.

With a “method that weaves elements” he wants to bring to New York a performance in the format of an extras with a large orchestra, stilts, multi-colored birds with costumes already designed, as the group announced his approach: Dagua , a universe to open the festival Camino a Flower. “A group of children and teenagers from the municipality of Dagua, Valle del Cauca in western Colombia are interrupting their routine to compete with a play at the FESTIVAL OF FLOWERS in NEW YORK, where they will demonstrate their talent and the result of months of preparation”

The request was submitted to the Ministry of Culture, the City Hall of Dagua and the Government of Valle del Cauca, and Manuel Castellanos wants the small group he leads to have experience, to see other worlds and to broaden their horizons to enrich their cultural education.

Manuel has been the victim of threats to his life, separated from his children for security reasons and today in exile for his life after two attacks in June last year. “If pain steals our soul and we forget its taste / if oblivion wears out hope and love / it is enough to close our eyes and turn our faces to the sun / to remember that together the heart beats strong” is heard in his hymn of youth.

In the documentary Kids Dreaming of Music, Juan, one of the main characters, says he was in a band, “not for long, but it’s not the same as being here,” a comment that brings us back to the singer-songwriter’s statement Manuel Castellanos: “One of the purposes of music is to be happy.”

“If a person is able to remember what makes them happy and apply it to music, they can weave what makes them happy across borders.”

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