Making the most of the fact that I had been invited to a conference about the future of festivals in this new musical era I travelled from Mexico to Costa Rica to visit some friends in the South Caribbean part of the country
Pepo and Sònia left everything to pursue their dream of opening a small eco-lodge in the Costa Rican paradise. The Kulula Lodge is near Puerto Viejo, a small quaint village which lives on the harvest of cacao and that a few years ago reinvented itself to attract a demanding tourism that was looking for peace in one of the last unspoilt places of the Caribbean.
It was not the first time that I had visited them and they already knew since my last stay that I wanted to witness an authentic performance of Calypso music. My curiosity had led me to the trail of Walter Ferguson, a living myth of this type of music born in Panama but settled since his childhood in the neighbouring village of Cahuita. Despite Pepo’s attempts we had to give up the idea of interviewing him and had to accept the fact that we would once again only be able to see some concerts by local young reggae bands. That’s why it was a really pleasant surprise when by chance we were able to see a spontaneous session of calypso in the fisherman’s village of Manzanillo, very close to the border with Panama. The impromptu band was playing odd metal drums, made from paint tins and a sort of two-stringed double bass that had a very peculiar sound. They were accompanied by a couple of guitars and a sort of fanfare that sounded like a carnival troupe. The songs were sung in Patois, a mixture of English and African, which is very typical in the Caribbean and varies from country to country. Speaking to the musicians later they told me loads of anecdotes about the evolution of this style and how little by little they were losing ground to the new rhythms coming from the north.
When we got back to the hotel I couldn’t stop thinking about how privileged I felt about having witnessed a tradition that will soon perhaps completely disappear. This loss will make us a little poorer and a lot unhappier because without it we will be losing a big part of the authenticity of true art, the one that is born from the need to be narrated
In Primavera Sound we cannot include all the voices that make music an outstanding element in human communication. It’s impossible. We can however cultivate the love we feel for this essential part of our lives. For this reason we think that we must really make an effort to show, year after year, that a festival can be more than a meeting of trendy bands. That an event of these characteristics should really be a meeting point for people who love music directed by people who feel it in the same way.
I also wanted to let you know that in the first week of February we will finally reveal the line up of the next edition. A day that we hope will be special for all those people. For us after a year of work, I am sure it will be.