Candombe, folklore with African roots
Unmistakable. When you hear the sound of drums, someone nearby is dancing the candombe. An unmissable sight.
No Uruguayan would deny that the candombe is an essential element of the national culture, an artistic symbol that runs deep through the veins of any true Uruguayan. These unique rhythms are rooted in the Afro-Uruguayan culture that began to flourish back in the mid-18th century. Above all else, the candombe is a celebration, a call to the past, a kind of meeting where drums are played in procession, people dance among or simply accompany the procession listening to the music. On Sundays and during festivals or public holidays, you'll be sure to find a performance of the candombe which is deeply rooted in the Barrio Sur, Palermo and Cordón areas, with large populations of African origin. There are two key dates for candombe in Montevideo: on 6 January the drums play for Saint Balthasar's day, a performance known as the "Llamada de Reyes"; and on the first Thursday and Friday of February the troupes take centre stage in the "Desfile de Llamadas", a procession that passes through the traditional Barrio Sur and Palermo neighbourhoods.
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