Colombia Calling - The English Voice in Colombia

An established singer, songwriter, accordionist and big band leader, Gregorio Uribe was born in Bogotá, Colombia and is currently based in New York City. Uribe has made a name for himself in the Latin music scene of both New York City and Boston. Well known for leading the Gregorio Uribe Big Band, a 16-piece orchestra that blends cumbia and other Colombian rhythms with powerful big band arranging, Uribe released "Cumbia Universal" (Zoho Music) featuring 8-time GRAMMY-winner and Latin music icon Rubén Blades in October 2015.

Upon its release the debut album for the big band hit the Billboard charts and received widespread critical acclaim with performances selling out at Jazz at Lincoln Center in NY, Villa Victoria Center for the Arts in Boston and two concerts at the celebrated Teatro Colón in his native Bogotá, Colombia.

He was also named by the government of Colombia as one of the "100 Most Successful Colombians Abroad".

Tune in for an excellent and upbeat episode of the Colombia Calling podcast

Direct download: RCC_335.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EDT

Every now and again, it's important to revisit some of the pressing issues in Colombia and on Ep334 of the Colombia Calling podcast, US academic, Shaun Gillooly gives us a blow by blow account of the tragedies taking place on Colombia's pacific coast, most importantly, in the cities of Buenaventura and Tumaco.

Whilst researching for her PhD dissertation, Gillooly takes us though her findings which lead us down a path revealing a century or more of isolation, indifference and despair for the communities of these two cities. Both Buenaventura and Tumaco are port cities, yet the benefits of the international trade are not seen by the population, the cities are both strategic deep water areas and close to coca growing regions. Therefore the illegal armed groups are in a constrant struggle for dominance and given the paucity of work available, many people fall into some rung of these illicit trades.

Gillooly does not, at any moment, glaze over the problems, we hear them all. Tune in for an informative and shocking account of life in the urban areas of Colombia's pacific coast.

Follow Gillooly @shaunagillooly

Direct download: RCC_334.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EDT

On Episode 333 it's a great pleasure to have Alex Rocha of the barrio San Francisco in Cartagena with us to talk about the challenges faced by the youth of his neighbourhood and what he has been doing via the Alex Rocha Youth Center.

The Alex Rocha Youth Center's main purpose is to provide a safe place for kids and keep them off the streets by teaching them Art, music, languages, crafts and hopefully skills towards getting jobs.

In San Francisco, a largely afro-colombian and working class neighbourhood, the children don't see the benefits from Cartagena's tourism boom, the colonial city is so far removed from their reality but so close to where they live that it's a contradiction.

Rocha himself has experienced the hard times of addiction and gang membership and from these memories and the desire to help others in similar situations to those he lived through, he has set up the Youth Center.

Tune in to hear an inspiring if at times worrying episode of the Colombia Calling podcast and how you can help.

Direct download: RCC_333.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EDT

You don't have to be Scottish or be a history enthusiast to love the tales of adventure and bravery behind the ill-fated attempt by the Scots to colonize the Darien region of Panama. And so it's a great pleasure to welcome John McKendrick QC on the Colombia Calling podcast to speak on this subject and his book about the episode: Darien: A Journey in Search of Empire.

Background: The Company of Scotland and its attempts to establish the colony of Caledonia on the inhospitable isthmus of Panama in the late seventeenth century is one of the most tragic moments of Scottish history. Devised by William Paterson, the stratagem was to create a major trading station between Europe and the East. It could have been a triumph, but inadequate preparation and organization ensured it was a catastrophe - of the 3000 settlers who set sail in 1688 and 1699, only a handful returned, the rest having succumbed to disease, and the enormous financial loss was a key factor in ensuring union with England in 1707. Based on archive research in the UK and Panama, as well as extensive travelling in Darien itself, John McKendrick explores this fascinating and seminal moment in Scottish history and uncovers fascinating new information from New World archives about the role of the English and Spanish, and about the identities of the settlers themselves.

Direct download: RCC_332.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EDT