The free concerts offered by the Cartagena Music Festival fit right into our cruisers budget, but not our lifestyle. They begin at 10 p.m., when many boaters have already gone to bed, and last until midnight. Afterwards, there’s a long stroll from Centro, the old walled city, to return to the anchorage in Manga. That takes another 30 or 40 minutes. Figure in another ten minutes for good-byes and dinghy rides and that explains why we’re sleeping in these mornings and taking a nap or two during the day. The festival’s international flavor and variety—classical, jazz, folk and native—make it all worthwhile.
Tonight we heard Maracatu, a traditional Brazilian ensemble, that told the story of Brazil’s early history and development through singing, dancing, costumes and music. The performance was high energy as one musical number led into the next, concluding with a parade that swept spectators through the Plaza de San Pedro Claver.
Our favorite concert featured the Alexis Cardenas Cuarteto at the Plaza de la Trinidad two nights ago. The YouTube video doesn’t begin to capture the group’s genius, because it includes a trio that preceded them onstage. It dilutes their performance. Seen by themselves, the Venezuelan quartet displays musical skills that are amazing. The guitarist, Elvis Martinez, plays a small 12-string South American guitar faster than anyone we’ve ever seen. He’s a muscular fellow who looks too big for his instrument yet plays deftly. Cardenas plays sweetly or dramatically with great energy. He’s a blast to watch. Jorge Glem plays bass and Nene Quintero plays percussion.
We waited in line for two hours for the tickets for this performance. We got only one.
The free tickets are distributed individually so the attendant can put a name into the database for each ticket. That’s done to prevent someone from receiving more than one ticket. After I walked away with my ticket, a woman bearing a receipt stepped in front of Mikayla and took the last three tickets available. How Colombian!
We picked up two additional tickets for $20 from a scalper and listened to a performance that could have cost twice as much, and we would have gladly paid it.