Candombe in Uruguay. The rhythm grabs you!

Candombe in Uruguay. The rhythm grabs you!
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Have you felt the sound of drums to the rhythm of candombe in Uruguay? Listening to them makes you vibrate to the core. Joy, dance, colors and laughter characterize it. We invite you to know a little more!

History of Candombe in Uruguay

The candombe is a cultural manifestation originated by the slaves who arrived from Africa in colonial times, in the second half of the 18th century. At that time, the port of Montevideo was the entry point for Africans to the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata and by the end of that century a quarter of the population was descended from them. In their free time, they continued to hold the rites of their lands, and around 1800 these celebrations were known as tangos or tambos.

The essence of Candombe

The candombe arises from the string, which is a group made up of three types of drums: boy, peal and piano. The instrument is played by striking the fish market with the open hand and with a toothpick; it is hung from one shoulder to be able to march while playing. In front of the string of drums, the dance corps, which in Uruguay is called comparsa, unfolds with its typical costumes.

Typical characters

Inside the troupe you can see several traditional characters. Among them:

  • the Gramillero, who represents the sorcerer of the tribe. He dresses in a frock coat, top hat, cane, glasses and a white beard and carries with him a suitcase with herbs with healing properties.
  • Mama Vieja, in colorful outfits, with a fan and an umbrella, dances slowly flirting with the Gramillero.
  • El Escobero originally led the drums during the parade with a cane; he today he dances with a small broom, which with its movement follows the rhythm of the drums.
  • The Vedettes are the ones who add sensuality to these dances, evoking rituals, dancing in front of the rope.

Where to see Candombe in Uruguay?

The candombe is played throughout the year in the neighborhoods of Montevideo, although it is most appreciated in the Sur and Palermo neighborhoods on weekends, when the troupes go out to rehearse in the streets to prepare for the Calls Parade.

The Call of Drums or Parade of Calls, which takes place at the beginning of February, is the most important event for the groups of blacks and lúbolos and comparsas that prepare throughout the year to present their show. At we sell packages with transfers, entrance fee and guide.

But not only can you enjoy Candombe there, we also offer you from a dinner show that includes a Candombe and Tango show in the same night.

When you come to Montevideo, do not stay with the desire and enjoy one of the most convincing, joyful and picturesque shows in Uruguay. You will live an unforgettable night of songs, laughter and dances.