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At the Festival, workshops are organized around music traditions, styles, instruments, or performance events. Music workshops provide an opportunity for musicians to talk about their traditions, how they learned them, where they perform them, the meaning of the lyrics, repertoire, signature pieces, new compositions, and more, while they demonstrate styles, techniques, and skills. Sometimes we organize cross-program workshops during which artists from different traditions share their music with one another.

The Colombia program featured workshops on voice traditions in Mompox and the Pacific Rainforest, the role of the bandola (a stringed instrument) in the music of the Plains and the Coffee Region; the construction and playing of the marimba de chonta (a signature instrument of the Pacific Rainforest); and carnival traditions in the Momposino Depression.

Presenters can guide workshops by prompting artists to:

  • Share background information about themselves, their tradition, their instruments, and their region
  • Explain the criteria or qualifications of a good musician
  • Demonstrate how instruments sound and how they work together with other instruments or voice
  • Improvise sample phrases
  • Discuss their repertoire, their audience, and places where they usually play
  • Explain opportunities for the introduction of new ideas and compositions in the tradition
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