Festival de Mil Tambores. Valparaiso, Chile. Each year, Valparaiso, Chile serves as home to the Mil Tambores festival. This years weekend of celebration was dedicated to Chilean artistic creative genius, folklorist and popular singer Violeta Parra. For the long weekend we were staying in Viña del Mar, but thanks to the new found Chilean instincts of a friend of mine from DU and her Chilean host mamá, we hopped on a micro and made our way to Cerro Mariposa, one of the many hills of the port city of Valparaiso where the festival was supposedly being held. When we got off the bus at the top of the hill and followed the directions of a local to where the festival was supposedly taking place, the deserted soccer stadium didn’t have me convinced this celebration was anything special. Thank goodness for the help of Gergana’s host mom we asked for directions from a couple kiosko owners and then jumped in a collectivo (the Chilean version of a taxi, more or less) towards where the festival was actually being held. Heading down the hill and more towards the heart of the city, we began to hear music, and the streets slowly began to fill with life. The collectivo driver dropped us off at the bottom of the hill and directed us to ‘keep walking that way.. follow the sound, and all of the people’. Still not exactly sure what to expect from the festival, we followed the masses of people – some costumed, some partly naked, and others completely there for the show like us, and hoped for the best. We rounded the corner of one of the streets closest to the ocean in the port city of Valparaiso and I fell in love. The street was FULL of people, full of energy, and full of life. As we walked along this street, alongside thousands of Chilean hippies, basically integrating ourselves into he rhythm of the parade (at one point I literally was wrapped in a boa and was dancing with a group of clowns), we got to hear the songs of the different groups of musicians and the dances of local dance troupes. Chilean passion and liveliness was overflowing onto the street, to say the least. About an hour later, my body having integrated into the rhythm of few dozen costumed groups, musical performers, clowns and most importantly fantastic drum lines, I realized there could be no better name for this festival as Mil Tambores translates literally to ‘A thousand drums’. The costumes, the bright colors, and the wonderful music was the perfect combination and a wonderful glimpe into Chilean culture.
//if you want to find out a little more about the festival, here is the official website http://www.miltambores.cl/inicio/