Colombia’s cowboy music: vallenato steals the show in Valledupar

Vallenato, the folk music of northern Colombia, was once derided as unsophisticated but is now celebrated at a festival in a city that loves to party

Plaza Alfonso Lopez shook to its 16th-century foundations as I squeezed through the whiskey-drinking, sombrero-wearing crowd. On stage, a fast-fingered accordionist played, a sweat stain spreading across his chest. The crowd held aloft framed photographs of their accordion heroes and roared approval as musical scales swooped and soared in the sultry air.

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