Photo © Andres Brenner

Video: The Uruguayan Candombe

Honoring their ancestors through drumming and dancing.

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By Andrés Brenner


21 Sep 2018 - 5 Minute Read


I’ve been interested in Candombe music and dance for a long time. It’s a tradition in my native Argentina, but it has a stronger presence in Uruguay. Today, it’s open to all, but it used to be a ritual of Afro-Uruguayans who were descended from slaves as a way of honoring their ancestors and remembering their roots.

I filmed this in Montevideo’s Barrio Sur, a neighborhood where generations of musicians and drum makers are born into the tradition and are always surrounded by music.

The performers were very happy to have someone from another country making a film about their culture and what they love. They made me feel like part of the group and invited me to all stages of the preparation. You can watch performances online, but it’s not the same as meeting the people involved with the tradition, hearing their stories and emotions about what happened to their ancestors and what inspired them to become Candombe dancers and drummers.

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Winner of the World Nomads 2013 Travel Film Scholarship, Andrés is a co-founder of Meanwhile Productions.

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