Here’s the New York City gig: After a long tiresome day fighting the interior design battle…yes, it is definitely a battle these days…a dear friend calls you and says meet her

in the Sculpture Garden of MoMA at 5:30 PM for some fabulous Colombian music being performed by LOS GAITERO DE SAN JACINTO.

R to L: Me, Consul General de Colombia, Elsa Gladys Cifuentes Aranazu, Sandra Llano, Isabel Bernal

She tells me there are going to  be a bunch of my Colombian friends there, and that means it is bound to be a lively affair. Nobody enjoys music and dancing better than the Colombians! Do I have any idea what  kind of music they are going to play? Absolutely not, but then what could be nicer than sitting in  MoMA’s  Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden        (designed by   Philip Johnson, by the by) on a hot summer night listening to music? I’m in!!!!

Aristide Maillol, “The River”

Katherina Fritsch, “Group of Figures”

There is definitely excitement in the air when  I arrive. Of course, the event starts 1 hour later than scheduled…that is true Colombian time. So I take that time to wander the garden which is sprinkled with the most wonderful examples of contemporary sculpture. Each and every one is marvelous , but for a little yin and yang  I say the classic piece by Aristide Maillol called “The River” and Katharina Fritsch’s “Group of Figures.” definitely define the breadth and depth of the sculpture collection.

Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto

At 6:30 PM LOS GAITERO DE SAN JACINTO make their entrance.   LOS GAITEROS are a prestigious group from Colombia that was invited to perform  at MoMA NIGHTS,  a live music series over the summer aimed at presenting music “…with an eye to the global cross-pollination of styles and genres.” This group has been around since the 1930’s and some of the original musicians are still performing with the group. AND the lead singer, Juan “CUCHITA” Fernández, was a man in his 80’s and he was fantástico!!!  

The crowd was dancing and clapping and singing along to the wonderful music.  It turns out LOS GAITEROS were awarded a Latin Grammy Award back in 2007, and after listening to their infectious music I certainly understand why.  It is almost impossible to stop yourself from getting up and dancing to it.  I had learned how to do the cumbia when I was in Cartagena a few years back (see post), so I was up there with everyone else movin’ and groovin’ to the happy and mournful music.


Me and Juan ¨CHUCHITA¨ Fernandez, the lead singer.

A little latin music history: GAITA is an Afro-Carribean style of music that is at the very soul of Colombian  music, and it is well known for the maravillosas cumbias ( a type of music/dance.)which are played at big fiestas and also funerals.

The evening was simply perfect, and I left totally energized and determined to practice my latin dancing and inspired by the oh so much fun it is to live in New York City.
Here is a fun video of me filming LOS GAITEROS on my iPhone taken by my friend, the artist, Sandra Llano. It will give you an idea of what the music sounds like, see a little cumbia dancing, and maybe practice your Spanish a little bit too. If you don’t start moving your body to the sound of the drums and the flutes I would be very surprised!