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Art: Alejandra Álvarez Polanía

Solipá (2021)
for soprano and electronics

Solipá is a tribute to María de los Santos Solipá, a woman born in a region of Colombia that is led by men, that is full of contrasts, and which is characterized by adverse social and economic conditions. Ever since she was young, she refused to follow the guidelines set for women in her time. For example, she went horseback riding through the savannah singing cow herding songs. These songs, which captured many of her frustrations as a woman, now occupy a privileged place in the region's oral tradition.


Solipá blends elements of the gritos de monte or cantos zafra* from the Colombian Atlantic Coast’s departments of Córdoba, Sucre and Bolívar as well as elements of the water drums tradition inherited by the women of Tacarigüita (a population located in the Barlovento region of the Miranda state in Venezuela) from the Bantú and Baka de Camerún communities. Both traditions are sensitive towards nature and frequently blend into the sounds of the natural environment where they are traditionally performed.


The work is built upon a text written by the Colombian writer and poet Martha Liliana Polanía Perdomo, in which, as a monologue, María de los Santos Solipá expresses and discerns the way in which she lives.


Recorded by Sara Badel (soprano) and Rodolfo Badel (electronics) at Centro Ático - Universidad Javeriana (Bogotá) on December 2, 2021.

This work has not yet been performed live.

*Cantos zafra (Zafra chants): the mountain shout or zafra chant, is connected to the act of clearing a field in preparatiing for sowing it. It is used in the fields to establish communications with other peasants or workers and with the animals that accompany them while they're clearing, cleaning and sowing the fields. The chant is also used for alerting others about dangerous animals and during the burning of the fields in preparation for the sowing process. According to the Colombian anthropologist and writer Manuel Zapata Olivella, the chant comes from a previous Zenu tradition in which the chant's tones varied according to the wind's behavior  (Quevedo Urrea, 2010).

Poem: Martha Liliana Polanía Perdomo



Dejo mi grito al aire pleno  

llanto suelto en mi dolor

soledad sobre mi cadáver

yerta, sin vida mi piel.


Busco una luz que me salve

abrir las alas de mi cárcel

duele el dolor de mi alma frágil 

tirar al viento este puñal.


Deambulo a través 

de oscuras sombras 

temo a ese que soy

otro al que niego

sigo siendo yo

grita verdades

hiriente aguijón 

que me doblega

Llenos de fuerza me miran sus ojos

qué quiere de mí?, la duda me


caigo en un espiral que me succiona

¿Quién he sido hasta hoy?

¿Quién seré mañana?


Amarga decisión 

es mi fusil 

oh cruel lección 

me desafió 

porque murió 

algo en mi.


De la matriz que me atrapa

    brota la vida, destellos 

    ciegan la mirada serena


¿Cuánto tiempo me tomó?

cierro una puerta, 

      a un paso

      se abre


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