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Friday, September 29, 2023

REBOLU: “Mi mulata” (My Mulatta)

The fluttering sound of the gaita flute is emblematic of the Afro-Colombian group alongside the Atlantic and Caribbean coast. On July 1, that sound reverberated throughout the Nationwide Mall as REBOLU took the stage at the 2022 Smithsonian Folklife Pageant.

The group, primarily based in New York Metropolis, introduced the music of the Black Atlantic to the D.C., performing songs off their new album from Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Mi Herencia (My Heritage). Gaita participant and ensemble co-founder Ronald Polo wrote “Mi mulata” (My Mulatta) for his eldest daughter and bandmate, Isabella, within the type of a chalupa, a sooner variant of cumbia with call-and-response vocal melodies.

On the day you have been born
(Look, Mulatta)
The day turned blue
And your mom suffered

Her new child smiled

Oh Mulatta, my life
Gifted, day and evening
I like you, my queen

You look a lot alike
It makes me melancholic
Your mom’s magnificence
I drowned myself in melody

Oh Mulatta, my life
Gifted, day and evening
I like you, my queen
Oh Mulatta, in life

Watch the full concert, additionally that includes Sunny Jain’s Wild Wild East. Discover REBOLU online and their new album on Smithsonian Folkways.

Lyric translation by Tia Merroto.

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