MONTEVIDEO – The Cuareim 1080 crew is aiming to win the champion’s title at carnival for the second year in a row with a display that depicts Uruguay’s heritage from architecture to soccer to its people’s idiosyncrasies with the rhythms of candombe.
“The show’s title is ‘Living Heritage’ and expresses our identity, what it is to be Uruguayan, the things that represent us, such as soccer, architecture and carnival, and the Spanish, Italian and African immigrants who forged our culture,” Cuareim 1080 coordinator Matias Silva told EFE.
After almost six months of preparations and rehearsals, Cuareim 1080 members are making their debut Monday at the Montevideo Summer Theater, striving to win their fifth title in the category of blacks and Lubolos, while competing with seven other teams.
The 55-minute show is a tour of the material and non-material history of Uruguay, emerging from a huge drum made of wood and cardboard that opens up to present some of the country’s monuments.
The performance unfolds to the traditional beating of the candombe, a major expression of Uruguayan folklore infused by African slaves brought during colonial times as female dancers sway their hips and songs are performed.
About 60 people, including dancers, singers, musicians and drummers, along with the typical candombe characters, like “gramilleros” (old wise men), the “mama viejas” (representing house servants in colonial times) and vedettes, perform in the show.
During the “llamadas” parade on Feb. 4 and Feb. 5, the crew will make its way through the streets of the Barrio Sur neighborhood, with its 150 members playing all the candombe figures in costume, Silva said.