By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza
The pasillo is a rhythm and a dance native to Colombia and Ecuador. It comes from the waltz and would have first appeared in the early years of the 19th century, during the independence wars fought in the Andean region of the viceroyalty of New Granada. This two-person ballroom dance moves much faster than the waltz and is quite demanding to the average dancer, both male and female. Towards the end of the century the pasillo spread into Central America, experiencing a surge in popularity in Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and El Salvador. It is also known in Venezuela (where it is called valse) and in the north of Peru.
There are two types of pasillo: the lively, festive, instrumental one, a major element in popular celebrations both public and private; and the slow, serenade-like style, vocal or instrumental, usually of romantic nature.
Colombia's variety, in the Andean region as in the rest of the country, has been strongly influenced by the bambuco. Colombian pasillo was typically played by string trios (the bandola, the tiple and the guitar), but can also be performed by extended ensembles (estudiantinas, chirimías, etc.), while most traditional performances feature tambourines and spoons as accompaniment.
Video 01. Selection of slow Colombian pasillos ("Señora María Rosa"/"Me volví viejo"/"Las acacias").
Video 02. "Atardecer" (Trío Morales Pino).
Video 03. "Esperanza" (Dueto Ibarra y Medina).
Video 04. Selection of themes from the National Festival of the Colombian Pasillo 2012.