Cimarron brings ‘joropo’ style to NMU

Nolan Krebs

The Northern Nights performing arts series will be bringing some of South America’s traditional tunes to campus on Saturday, March 16 with the Colombian group Cimarron.

Brandishing a regional style of music and dance called joropo, Cimarron plays what is described as the “cowboy” music of their culture, said director of the Beaumier Heritage Center Dan Truckey.

“The group members come from the farming and ranching plains of Colombia and Venezuela,” Truckey said. “[The music] is made by the cattle hands and farmers in this region.”

The style is also influenced by the area’s different cultures, Truckey said, including the Spanish settlers and Mestizos, a mix of the indigenous tribes and Europeans.

“The music is very old and combines several traditions,” Truckey said. “The band plays many traditional South American instruments and there are a couple of dancers as well who will be doing the traditional joropo dances.”

According to the Smithsonian Folkways website, the nonprofit record label of the Smithsonian Institution, the Grammy-nominated group’s name translates as “wild bull,” and their performances feature “percussive strings and maracas, dynamic vocal expression, and full-throttle pace.”

The concert was originally part of a U.S. tour funded by a grant, Truckey said, which later fell through. Northern Nights decided to continue with the show after re-negotiating a fee, Truckey said, feeling they were still a good fit for NMU.

“Our committee just felt that their music was so dynamic and we really wanted them to come to Northern,” Truckey said.

The Cimarron performance will include both music and dance, something Truckey said was different than other performers in the Northern Nights series this year.

“I love the Northern Nights series because it is so eclectic,” Truckey said. “No one band is really like the others, so our audience really gets a lot of wonderful variety -— but the one commonality is that they are all exceptional performers.”

The series is popular with students looking to see international performers at a lower price, said senior communications studies major Julia Smith.

“This will be the third show I’ve seen so far this year that [Northern Nights] have put on,” Smith said. “A group of my friends and I saw Homemade Jamz Blues Band and Frontier Ruckus earlier this year. Seeing really good music on campus is almost always cheaper than what you might pay at other venues.”

Smith said people in Marquette, students or otherwise, seem open to a lot of the different styles and groups that pass through the area.

“Even though the bands that come to NMU are international, it’s a lot of the same type of music that you might see at Hiawatha,” Smith said. “A lot of music around Marquette has the same folk or traditional feel to it.”

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Forest Roberts Theatre. Tickets are $5 in advance and $6 at the door for students and children, $13 in advance and $15 at the door for faculty, staff and seniors and $18 in advance and $20 at the door for the general public.

For more information about the concert, call Truckey at (906) 227-3212 or email [email protected]