Festival Bandola: 23 años de música al viento

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Festival Bandola en Sevilla, Valle del Cauca. Foto Mario Carvajal.

Desde las montañas cafeteras del Valle del Cauca, cada año se reúnen miles de personas para rendir un homenaje a la música andina colombiana

Sara Zapata
@sagaza91 

Son tres días de festival más la ñapa. Se hace en cada puente de agosto en el municipio de Sevilla, Valle del Cauca. Este año se hizo del 17 al 20 y asistieron alrededor de 10 mil personas de todos los lugares del país y muchos extranjeros. Este festival es muy recomendado, ya que no solo se pueden disfrutar de los géneros tradicionales colombianos como el bambuco, el pasillos, la guabina, entre otros, sino de encuentros increíbles como el bandolitis donde se hace homenaje a este instrumento, el cantorío de mujeres que cada vez adquiere más participación internacional, el carnaval de abrazos que contagia las calles de Sevilla del ánimos festivalero y de amistad; conciertos de muchos géneros musicales, rock, salsa, reggae y hasta música popular. Este festival es concertado con el Ministerio de Cultura.

Hablamos con María Elena Vélez, docente y fundadora del grupo Bandola y posteriormente del festival, quien recuerda con mucho cariño al semanario VOZ.

–¿Como surge el grupo y el festival Bandola?

–Hace 36 años nosotros escuchábamos las músicas que nos llegaban del sur y centro de América, fueron nuestros referentes en la época en la que estábamos en la universidad del Quindío. El grupo empezó con cuatro personas, los dos mayores, Oscar Gallego y María Elena Vélez y los menos Rodrigo Muñoz y Julián Gil, cantábamos en la universidad y posteriormente trabajando en el magisterio en Sevilla, nos articulamos con el grupo “Pachamama”.

En el año 82 creamos el grupo Bandola, con un repertorio de canciones de la región andina y la música representativa latinoamericana; se estaba forjando el movimiento de la nueva canción liderado por personas muy importantes de la música popular, como Gabino Palomares y Quinteto Tiempo.

Tuvimos la fortuna de que siendo un grupo tan joven, pudimos estar en Venezuela en la marcha Bolivariana, con apoyo de la gente del grupo Semillas en Bogotá. Asistimos a encuentros en Lima y Quito, allí compartimos escenarios con Alí Primera, Tania Libertad, Silvio Rodríguez, todos los intérpretes de la nueva trova cubana, todos los músicos que eran una voz importante en el canto latinoamericano. Nos metimos a esos encuentros gracias a un festival de VOZ que se hizo en Bogotá, pues se había seleccionado un grupo para ir a Caracas y alguien se enfermó de ese grupo y nos tocó ir a nosotros en medio de la emergencia. Desde ese momento se abrieron las puertas para otros festivales.

El movimiento de la nueva música latinoamericana se fue desbaratando y nosotros empezamos a trabajar más en la música andina como el folclor tradicional colombiano.

El festival Bandola aparece porque íbamos a muchos festivales de música como el Mono Núñez, el festival de Aguadas, el festival del bambuco en Pereira; ahí nos encontrábamos con muchos músicos y coincidíamos en que eran muy importantes los festivales, pero que debíamos hacer eventos donde no tuviéramos que competir sino que cada uno llevara lo mejor de sí y pudiéramos hacer programas musicales donde aprendiéramos todos de todos.

Hace 25 años exactamente que nos invitaron a un evento que se llamó “Encuentro de las nuevas expresiones de la música andina colombiana”, y ahí empezamos a conversar con ese grupo de músicos amigos; hablamos de temas como derechos de autor, difusión, de por qué nuestros discos no se escuchaban en las emisoras comerciales y en las pocas culturales; hablábamos del discurso de la canción, de lo tradicional y de la alternativa, era un encuentro más académico.

Después de esos dos años continuamos con el diálogo pero con la idea de hacer un festival de música y cantos; decidimos hacerlo en Sevilla con el apoyo de la Alcaldía. La primera edición fue un evento de una sola tarde, solo música andina colombiana.

–¿Cuál fue la reacción de los sevillanos frente al festival teniendo en cuenta el origen campesino del municipio?

–El festival ha tenido un empoderamiento de la comunidad desde el comienzo, nació con esa aceptación, obviamente hay gente a la que no le gusta el contenido del festival, pero la mayoría de las personas lo han apropiado. Hay un arraigo con el festival, un sentimiento muy importante. Este año el festival tuvo un gran apoyo de la comunidad, ellos confiaron en nosotros y se convirtieron en un patrocinador por medio de donaciones. El festival atiende un promedio de 450 artistas en los cuatro días y tiene un alto costo.

–¿Cómo ves el mercado de la música andina colombiana en estos momentos?

–El mercado de la música andina colombiana no es fácil, hay muchísimos festivales, somos alrededor de 18 departamentos que hacemos festivales de música. En la región andina tenemos alrededor de 90 festivales que todo el año hacen una gestión y que los hacen con un gran sentimiento, gestados y producidos por la gente que ama la música.

Es muy difícil el mercadeo, los artistas venden de a poquitos, andan con los discos en una caja vendiendo los que puedan en los festivales, siendo artistas maravillosos, que desde pequeños están en el conservatorio consagrando su vida a la música. Hay muy pocas emisoras culturales que difunden nuestros contenidos artísticos, estableciendo un mercado insuficiente que no retribuye el gran trabajo que se hace.

–¿Cómo invitar a la juventud a que escuchen la música andina colombiana?

–El 90% del público del festival Bandola son jóvenes entre los 18 y 25 años, y ellos ya están yendo a otros festivales y les interesa profundizar más en este género. Hay fuerzas foráneas que impactan mucho, y sigue siendo para pocos este privilegio.

Nosotros consolidamos un equipo de 80 jóvenes que nacieron con el festival y que pasan sus vacaciones pintando las telas para la tarima del evento. Están presentes e involucrados en toda la organización, ayudando a replicar nuestro mensaje invitando a nuevos públicos.

–¿Cómo va el grupo Bandola?

–Nosotros tuvimos un trancón horrible. El año pasado murió Julián Gil, uno de los fundadores del grupo, momento fuerte para el grupo pues fueron 36 años junto a él. A pesar de todo nos hemos venido reponiendo, ya que el grupo tiene nuevos elementos. El más reciente CD que hicimos fue hace 2 años sacando en este último año una serie de sencillos. Después de la muerte de Julián nos ha costado mucho trabajo componer, al punto que hicimos una canción de catarsis, un ejercicio de crear sin él una canción, la más reciente que se titula “Corazón tanqueado”; hace alusión a lo que somos, a lo que nos llena el corazón, estar en familia, en el pueblo; es una canción muy sencilla y la hicimos pensando en Julián. Hay nuevas ideas para nuevas canciones pero no tenemos una fecha exacta de lanzamiento.

–¿Cómo crees que la música puede aportar para la construcción de la paz y la transformación de nuestra sociedad?

–Aporta de muchas maneras, estando juntos, cantando cosas que le den valor a lo que estamos diciendo, que partan de mensajes de amor, de futuro, de cuidado a la naturaleza, sin necesidad de entrar en discursos fuertes, sino desde nuestras vivencias y entornos cotidianos. También el poder permanecer unidos defendiendo la diversidad, los diferentes gustos y géneros musicales, promoviendo unos discursos en las canciones que llevan buenos mensajes de respeto al otro y a la naturaleza. Todo esto conduce a los caminos de paz que tanto anhelamos.

Ya nos estamos preparando para nuestro festival del 2019, quedan todos y todas invitadas para que pasen cuatro días de fiesta, de buena música, de cariño, de alegría; los invitamos a que participen del carnaval de los abrazos y de todos los eventos que tenemos previstos. ¡Case que case, que no se descase!

Foto Mario Carvajal.

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