Jorge Velosa is a Colombian folk music composer. His music is from the Andean region of the country, or "the interior" as it is called, but its influence is felt throughout the nation. Velosa created a new musical style called "carranguero" music. This music represents the dreams and hopes, words, and soul of popular art. Twenty years ago, Velosa put together a group called "Los Carrangueros de Ráquira" as homage to the peasant people, using a playful, daring name.
Musically, this genre is part of Colombian popular music. Its roots are in the Andean region, and many small musical groups, families, and "aficionados" keep this music alive, playing and dancing, with thousands of followers that truly enjoy it throughout the country. Now the group is making an effort to share this singular music and rhythms abroad.
Velosa explains: "Being ‘carranguero’ means a way of expression, a search for cultural identity, a rejoicing for what we are, using tradition and everyday life themes; the collective and personal creative spirit.
During the past twenty years, the group has recorded 16 CD’s with more than 160 original themes, some of them becoming part of the Colombian Folk Music repertoire. "Carranga" music became a research tool and reference for educational institutions. The group has presented countless workshops, radio and TV presentations, conferences, and many shows. The group also had a memorable concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Furthermore, this music is heard in many local radio stations in big cities and provinces in Colombia.
The inspiration for this music comes from travelling inch by inch all of Colombia, her roads, paths, town squares, where the campesino’s cultural expression comes to life. This music genre is highly regarded in the country and has received great recognition. The group also creates music for children. One of these songs was selected by the country of Bolivia to teach Spanish to their Indian Communities.
"Carranguero" songs are loaded with humor, tenderness, sayings, proverbs, satire, storytelling, anecdotes, rhymes, and dance, expressed through many rhythms such as rumba, merengue, torbellino, bambuco, and guabina, among others. The instruments used are the tiple (Colombian 12-string treble guitar), requinto (a type of four-stringed small guitar), the guitar, the guacharaca (a slotted board played with a metal fork), and sometimes the harmonica.
One important contribution of "Carranguero" music is the love of traditional campesino culture, rescuing of old Spanish words and proverbs, and the love of nature and the land. The group’s latest CD, called "En cantos verdes" (Enchanted Green Songs) includes some themes that are a reminder of what is happening to the planet, to the environment, to the land, and therefore to the livelihood of campesinos in Colombia, and farmers all over the world.