“We are achieving what our ancestors could not achieve”: Profiles of the Guapi River, the first group from the territory to reach the FEP

The group is made up of young people from territories surrounding Guapi, Cauca (@semblanzasdelrioguapi)

On March 23, 24, 25 and 26, 2023 it will take place at the Briceño 18 Golf Course and Events Center a new edition of the famous Picnic Stereo Festival that will bring to the country again some of the outstanding musical artists at a national and international level. However, the event also makes space for local artists whose message goes far beyond music.

In addition to headliners as Billie Eilish, Twenty One Pilots, Tame Impala, Drake, Rosalía, among other great artists; he EFF it also opens its stages to the traditional rhythms of the country and those artists whose work has an impact in their communities. That is the case of Portraits of the Guapi Rivera group from the Pacific that goes beyond traditional rhythms and sings to the problems of their territory while insisting on preserving the cultural heritage of this area.

infobae colombia talked with Libya Sinisterra one of the four singers that make up this group that will perform on April 25th in Briceño and which, in addition to being a musical group, has become an institution that contributes to its territory, keeping young people away from violence. The group was the winner of the Petronio Álvarez Festival in 2014 and 2015, and has always been committed to cultural significance through music.

In the group, the voices of the singers Yamile and Marbel Cortés stand out; Yesica and Libia Sinisterra (@semblanzasdelrioguapi)

Infobae: So that the people who go to the FEP know what is Semblanzas del Río Guapi and what do they do?

Libya Sinisterra: Semblanzas del Río Guapi is a group of young empirical musicians who are betting on the war in favor of peace that was born as a result of the initiative of the sisters Yamile and Marbel CortésBecause previously we had a group called ‘Voces de la marea’, but due to economic situations, many of those who were part of the group and who were close to Guapi, Cauca, had to leave the territory to be able to continue with their studies. and the group seemed to end.

But we are musicians and we feel that if we don’t have music it’s like losing a part of our essence. So they call on us as members to form our own group, that was in 2009, and in 2011 Semblanzas del Río Guapi participated for the first time in the Petronio Álvarez Festival, finishing in second place.

Infobae: And why the name?

L.S: It is because it is an ensemble, it is like the Guapi river, we are different musicians from the group, each one has a place of origin and, despite the fact that we are from the same municipality, there is a variation in the lexicon, in the way of thinking and in that of composing. Each one gives his contribution, when we merge, something incredible sounds, we are the ensemble of the Guapi river.

Infobae: In the territory you are known as much more than a group, what are those initiatives that have led the youth of your community?

LS: In addition to grouping, we have been able to link all the knowledge that we have empirically and pedagogically acquired to a school. When we returned from Petronio as winners, we thought ‘what are we going to do to keep music going?’ and we found ourselves in need of creating a school. The beneficiaries of this are vulnerable children, who have suffered violence firsthand, who do not have the resources of their own to access a decent education. We have also established ourselves as a foundation in which the associates also contribute to improve the quality of life of boys and girls.

In their lyrics they address the conflicts of their territories, the cultural knowledge and the oral tradition of their ancestors (@semblanzasdelrioguapi)

Infobae: How do you feel about being close to performing at the Festival Estéreo Picnic and being the first group from Guapi to do so?

L.S: We are really excited, we are happy because even though we are all young we have become a musical benchmark in our communities and even nationally. We are achieving what our ancestors could not achieve and it is something wonderful for us, we feel that peace of mind that what they did for us and wanted it to reach an international level has been fulfilled.

Infobae: Precisely, what does it mean that this knowledge and cultural heritage from the Pacific reaches a festival like the Estéreo Picnic?

L.S: For us it is very important because we have not been so visible and to achieve that space is to guarantee that our boys and girls can look at traditional music as a plus for change, for social transformation. It’s great and at the same time it’s creating that resilience for everything we’ve been through and healing our hearts.

Infobae: What do you have prepared for your presentation?

LS: We are going to sing with our soul, as always, presenting our repertoire and representing our communities, empirical musicians, our ancestors and our families, we are going to make those who listen to us feel that Colombia is not only bad things, but our music can be a plus so that other countries can unite and help us build that peace that we so long for. We will be on stage with our most fundamental instrument, our human qualityIt is an instrument that each one of us has and with which we know that we are going to achieve what others have not been able to achieve, because being a good musician does not help us, but we do not have that essence that we are human beings and we have to respect ourselves as beings. humans.

They will be on March 25 at the Estéreo Picnic Festival (@semblanzasdelrioguapi)

Infobae: The group is made up of its musicians and the singers who are the sisters Yamile and Marbel Cortés; Yesica and Libya. What is the role of women within the Pacific musical tradition?

LS: We are musical sisters, this in addition to being a group is a dream that we have had since we were very young, we built that brotherhood because we are from the same territory. Our role is to safeguard these practices to tell our boys and girls that we cannot generate violencethat we have to be more intelligent through our actions, our role is to compose music capturing those various trades that we carry out in our homes, in our jobs, expressing what we do not like, stating that being poor is being good, that we belong to Afro peoples does not mean that we are not children of God.

Infobae: What lies ahead for Semblanzas del Río Guapi?

LS: In the future, with Discos Pacífico and Territorios de Oportunidades, we have more projects that lead to the construction of peace through music. We plan to leave the country with music and within our territories have many more seedbeds that also contribute to strengthening the fabric social.

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