As luck would have it, our last day in Barranquilla was one of the best. After a mad dash to get our replica picó speaker-box safely in the mail and some last minute early-morning record hunting, Carlota and myself made our way to barrio Santo Domingo in the south of the city. There we met up with Fabian on the porch of famed picó-painter and professor of fine arts William Gutierrez. We took some pictures of the latest set that he had painted–a really nice looking replica of El Gran Torres–-and headed a few blocks down to an outdoor bar/estadero called La Embajada Beer, where four replica picós were stringing up.
Representing Barranquilla, El Dragon and El Gran Freddy played in a fine fashion, as did El Suby and El Melodico who made the trip from Soledad.
After an afternoon of wonderful music and great company we got in a taxi back to central Barranquilla, only to pass by another event in progress–the storied picó El Timbalero performing at Estadero El Gran Rey just a few blocks away from our hotel. Needless to say, we decided to head over and check it out. This was the current manifestation of the original Timbalero–playing their original music in a vintage fashion through a modern-style sound system–and it sounded excellent. Soukous records over giant speakers outdoors on the Caribbean coast, its tough to go wrong there. Compared to the laid back-neighborhood vibe of the Santo Domingo event, this was a pretty raucous scene. The place wasn’t actually very full on the inside, but hundreds of people crowded around the fenced-in estadero–an array of street vendors, groups of twenty-somethings, some people dancing, kids on motorbikes. It was great. Sadly there are no photos, but hopefully the ones above will be enough to convince you to quit your job and buy a ticket to Colombia.
Special thanks to Fabian Altahona (who took the photos above) and William Gutierrez, as well as Edwin Altamar and the other picó-owners at La Embajada Beer that I didn’t get a chance to meet.