Music to protect the Naya

These are the stories of people who reflect Colombia’s diversity and who are united by the pain wrought by the armed conflict, and through a shared hope for a true and lasting peace.

Afro-Nayeran people share their memories through music, which becomes a means of denouncing just as much as peace building. On several occasions they played the bombo drum, the marimba xylophone made from chonta palm wood, and guasa pipes, accompanied by voices singing of the Nayero people’s joy for life, and their persistence in the fight to stay on their land:

People here gathered
We go into battle
We go to fight
On the river Naya

 When the ancestors came to this region
The gave the town the name Concepcion
They fed off fish and animals too
They ate mountain papaya and yam too

Our ancestors liked the mine a lot
It was the only way
To earn themselves a living

Here there are some streams
Where they worked
Here there are some graveyards
Where they were buried

There were some ancestors that were enslaved
They came together in a palenque
And there they were freed

From Naya to Buenaventura
It took them 30 hours
Because our ancestors
Rowed in canoes

We will keep working
With the weapon we have
The weapon is the pan,
The rod and the hoe

Mr Isabelino
We want to thank
Because our land
He didn’t want to sell

Here in the river Naya
I eat piles of taro root
Washed down with crystal water

Here in the river Naya
We don’t have poverty
And that is why our children
Don’t leave the land

River Naya Community Council
Let’s unite to see if we can win the battle
People here gathered, let’s go to battle, let’s go to fight, on the river Naya

Delphine and Mario wrote the stories for the ‘Beautiful madness’ after a trip to the Naya river basin in June 2016.  During that journey they accompanied the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission (CIJP) and met with women and men from indigenous, Afro-descendant and farming communities from around Colombia, and witnessed the inauguration of the University for Peace’s first campus, the beginning of an initiative that seeks to generate initiatives that will bring peace to the territories.

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