Falling in love with the majestic Cartagena de Indias is inevitable, because those who visit the city are fascinated and are always tempted to stay; those who inhabit it, admire it; those who do not know it, crave it; and those who part, never forget about it. That is why several songs have been written about this city.
Arabella, artistic name of singer from Bogotá Margarita Pinillos, was right. When she recorded in 1974 the song “Callecitas de Cartagena”, the love and magic she felt for the city gave her the inspiration to write songs, verses and poems about La Heroica with great passion.
Writers, poets, composers, singers, all of them make Cartagena their source of inspiration. Incredible pieces and unforgettable musical themes, from ballads, salsa themes, “décimas”, vallenatos, cumbias and even champeta, the local rhythm that persuades more than one, especially the foreigners.
To famous singers and composers, among them Carlos Vives, Checo Acosta, Arabella, Claudia de Colombia, Juan Carlos Coronel, Marco Rayo, Kevin Flórez, Jaime R. Echeverría, Leonidas Otálora, Adolfo Mejía, Petrona Martínez, Jesús David Quintana, and local artists like the famous Joe Arroyo -R.I.P.-, La Heroica has always "seduced" them with its charm.
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Songs writer from Bolívar, Pedro “Ramayá” Beltrán, immortalized the essence of the “Corralito de Piedra in his melodious cumbia “Santo Parrandero”, which he recorded 55 years ago and became not only the anthem of the celbrations of Cartagena, but also an emblematic piece of national folklore, as it affirms journalist from Barranquilla Fausto Pérez Villarreal. With help from Efraín Mejía and Gabriel Segura, Pedro Beltrán, infected by joy, paid tribute to the Cartagena festivities and its song describes everything:
“...En tus fiestas novembrinas y en tu santo San Martín llevamos alegría sin fin hasta tus playas marinas. Y en tus horas vespertinas se mira la mar serena. Luego la mujer morena por el Camellón pasea y el negro que la desea, así eres tú Cartagena…”/ “...In your November festivities and in your patron’s saint day San Martín, we bring endless joy to your marine beaches. And in your evening hours you can look at the calm sea. Then the brunette woman walks by the Camellón and the black man who desires her, that’s who you are Cartagena...”.
Currently, the modern version of this verse of Checo Acosta sets everyone on a dancing mood during the Fiestas de Independencia of Cartagena, and it is one of those songs enjoyed throughout the country.
In Cartagena de Indias, the voice of Joe Arroyo resonated when with pride, in 1968, he expressed in the lyrics of La Rebelión the story of its black race fellows, who arrived at the city in infamous conditions. This Caribbean melody and dance marked the history of this famous songs writer and singer on a national and international level.
“En los años mil seiscientos, cuando el tirano mandó, las calles de Cartagena, aquella historia vivió. Cuando allí llegaban esos negreros, africanos en cadenas, besaban mi tierra, esclavitud perpetua, esclavitud perpetua, esclavitud perpetua...” / In the sixteen hundred years, when the tyrant ruled the streets of Cartagena, this story was lived. When those slavers came here, Africans in chains kissed my land, perpetual slavery, perpetual slavery, perpetual slavery...”.
The composer and musician of Valle del Cauca, Marco Rayo, also paid tribute to the walls and beaches, with his work Cartagena de Indias, considered another hymn of the Heroic city:
“A la orilla del mar, del mar Caribe, allí está Cartagena La Heroica, allí está Cartagena La Heroica, enmarcada en murallas y tambores como símbolo histórico de América, como símbolo histórico de América. Cartagena, sus playas, y murallas son reliquias de historia colonial y en sus playas la India Catalina escribió la leyenda del amor, del amor... Cartagena de Indias, Cartagena del mar, Cartagena tesoro de leyenda, Cartagena reliquia colonial...” / "On the seashore, of the Caribbean Sea, there is Cartagena La Heroica, there is Cartagena La Heroica, framed in walls and drums as a historical symbol of America, as a historical symbol of America. Cartagena, its beaches, and walls are relics of colonial history and on its beaches, India Catalina wrote the legend of love, of love… Cartagena de Indias, Cartagena del Mar, Cartagena treasure of legend, Cartagena colonial relic...”.
And how Carlos Vives said in his song La Fantástica:
“Dios bendiga Cartagena la fantástica, viva el África, viva el África. Nadie baila como baila la fantástica, romántica, no tan plástica, movimiento de cadera iconoclástica, muy artística, más elástica. Chambacú, Torices, Barú, Bazurto…” / “God bless Cartagena the fantastic, live Africa, live Africa. Nobody dances like the fantastic, romantic, not so plastic dance, iconoclastic hip movement, very artistic, more elastic. Chambacú, Torices, Barú, Bazurto…".
Or as reflected by the maestro Jaime R. Echavarría, author of the song "Nights of Cartagena" that “fascinan por el suave rumor que tiene el mar porque la brisa cálida murmura, toda una serenata tropical. Allí es donde quisiera estar contigo con la luna y la arena y ese mar, y que juegue la brisa con tu pelo y las olas te vengan a arrullar…” / “fascinates by the soft rumor that the sea has because the warm breeze murmurs, a whole tropical serenade. That's where I would like to be with you with the moon and the sand and that sea, and let the breeze play with your hair and the waves come to you to coo...".