On January 23rd, Rodeph Sholom School Middle School students welcomed Gregorio Uribe, a world-renowned musician who blends different styles of music from various regions of Colombia, and his accompanist Jonathan Gomez. Students participated in a workshop with Uribe and learned about cumbia, “Colombia’s national dance and one of its most representative rhythms [that is the] inspiration behind much of the country’s popular music.”
Highlighting different regions throughout Colombia, Uribe discussed the unique rhythms and instruments that come from each. For example, the joropo rhythm, which was played on the maracas and drums, comes from the Eastern Plains region. Students were then called up to lead the group in rhythm and dance. The final song ended in a joyous march around the gymnasium.
For the past three years, Spanish students have been studying Colombia under the tutelage of Dr. Luisa Rosas, chair of the Romance Languages department, who is from Colombia. In preparation for this event, Rodeph Sholom School faculty members developed an interdisciplinary curriculum:
- Students in the music department were taught cumbia and its instruments by Louis Glaser.
- Students in the art department created traditional Colombian hats, called a sombrero vueltiao, with Dania Guido in preparation for the cumbia dance.
- Students from 7th Grade Spanish classes led the assembly with introductions and interview questions in Spanish and English.
Understanding and celebrating diversity of experiences and backgrounds is part of Rodeph Sholom School’s daily curriculum and values. We are particularly grateful for the dedication of Dr. Rosas, who organized this extraordinary event to share an element of her personal background and experience.
An established singer, songwriter, accordionist, and big band leader, Uribe was born in Bogotá, Colombia, and is currently based in New York City. Emerging as a graduate of the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Uribe has made a name for himself in the Latin music scene. Thank you to Gregorio Uribe and his collaboration with Carnegie Hall’s Musical Explorers program that allowed students at Rodeph Sholom School this great opportunity.