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The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Colgate Live Music Collective Welcomes Colombian Folk Artist Mónica Giraldo to Hamilton

Instagram / @colgatelivemusic

Colombian folk musician Mónica Giraldo performed at Flour & Salt Café on Thursday, April 25, bringing an opportunity for members of the community to appreciate and bond over a style of music not often available in Hamilton, N.Y. The concert, sponsored by the Colgate University Live Music Collective (CLMC), started around 8 p.m. and lasted approximately an hour, though many of the attendees stayed later to talk both to Giraldo and with one another.

Giraldo, a singer-songwriter who has released seven albums to date and been awarded a nomination at the 2008 Latin Grammys, performed both traditional and original compositions at the concert. Prefacing her songs with explanations and occasional translations of certain lyrics, she sought to create an atmosphere in which the audience could connect to her music on an emotional level and connect with one another as a community united by a passion for music.

“For me, [a concert is] a beautiful conversation between the audience and the songs I play,” Giraldo said. “It’s a moment of getting together, [of] getting to know each other [and] of sharing.”

Assistant to the Chief of Staff and Secretary to the Board of Trustees Angela Carrizosa Aparicio helped arrange the concert by putting Giraldo and the CLMC in contact with one another. She discussed her hopes that Giraldo’s music could help enrich the lives of Colgate students and Hamilton community members, many of whom have not been exposed to traditional Colombian music such as Giraldo’s.

“I thought it would be great for [Giraldo] to show her music in a venue in the middle of nowhere, where there’s no access to this type of music,” Carrizosa said. “She brings different rhythms from Latin America […] and just the fact that she talks about common things in her life, like how life can be so simple, with the gifts it brings, [I thought it] would be a good experience for Colgate [and] Hamilton people to listen to.”

Director of the Keck Center for Language Study and Senior Lecturer in Linguistics Gerald (Cory) Duclos enjoyed the concert for similar reasons, citing his appreciation for the warm and multilingual atmosphere it provided.

“It’s always nice to have music in different languages played, and I enjoyed that a lot,” Duclos said. “[The music brought] a different perspective, different culture […]. It was a really good vibe.”

Duclos also commented on Giraldo’s joyful presence on stage, noting that she was “radiating happiness.”

In addition to bringing warmth and joy, Giraldo’s songs sparked an opportunity for reflection and conversation around many themes. Her performance of “Hubo un Tiempo” expressed the uncertainties of life, especially during the difficult times of the COVID-19 pandemic; another one of her songs, “Vamos por el Magdalena,” is named for the Río Magdalena in Colombia and recalls her love for her homeland.

Additionally, Giraldo sought to connect her messages to the Hamilton community, specifically. She addressed the stresses of college life through the performance of a song titled “La Vida Puede Ser Simple,” or “Life Can Be Simple,” in the hopes of reminding students, professors and community members that we need not overcomplicate our lives. Giraldo also performed The Beatles’ “Here Comes to Sun” in reference to the imminent return of spring, sunshine and hope.

Director of Research and Scholarly Initiatives Joshua Finnell, who helps run CLMC, described his satisfaction with the concert, CLMC’s last of the 2023-24 academic year. Finnell highlighted the fact that much of the crowd from the concert itself did not immediately disperse; rather, members of the audience remained and engaged with one another.

“This is the perfect end to a show,” Finnell said. “People are hanging out, they’re talking, they’re staying afterwards […] that’s kind of our goal with this [event]. In addition to listening to great music, it’s really about building a community around live music.”

Finnell also remarked on his observation that the concert brought people together from across different walks of life, including students, faculty and other members of the Hamilton community.

“It’s nice to see that intermingling here, which often doesn’t happen,” Finnell said. “I hope people come out and find their community here.”

At a time when the anticipatory stress of final exams is running high, when the long-term effects of a pandemic are still being felt and when political and geopolitical events are weighing heavily on the public conscience, the value of shared feelings of community cannot be overstated. Where better to look for those feelings than amongst friends and trustworthy acquaintances, in the presence of music reminding us of love, light and life’s simple pleasures?

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