Friday, March 6, 2009

"El Acordeón del Diablo"

"El Acordeón del Diablo" is a film by German director Stefan Schwietert about accordions and Colombian music. Accordions of course came from Germany, and the movie begins by explaning how the accordion came to be such an integral part of coastal Colombian music such as vallenato and cumbia, among others.

The film tells the story of the 92 year old Francisco Pacha Rada, a literal living legend, still playing the accordion. He is one of the most stories musicians in contemporary Colombian musical history, and yet lives humbly in the Carribean city of Santa Marta.

The film also features a lot of Alfredo Gutierrez, a famous musician in his own right, from the generation following Francisco Rada's. Here's a great song of his I got thanks to Africolombia, "Ojos Indios."

If the film is coming to a town near you, see it at the theater (here's the homepage). Otherwise, enjoy it on the tiny screen at YouTube, where it's available in 9-minute pieces.

So far I am enjoying it. I'm on the 4th part right now, which features a lively performance by some old men (including the star's son), in the town of Aracataca (Garcia Marquez's hometown). Check out the maraca player's fancy footwork around the 3-minute mark: Part 4

But be sure to check out the whole movie. Really interesting if you're interested in Colombia, Colombian music, vallenato, cumbia, or Latin America in general.

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