Loras Event Looks at Colombian Culture Through Cumbia

DUBUQUE, Iowa – Loras College will host a virtual talk with Juan Suárez Ontaneda as he discusses Colombia and the rise of the cumbia folkloric genre Thursday, February 25 at 7 p.m.

Juan Suárez Ontaneda

This lecture, “’Kolombias’ to Colombia: Race and The Transitional Performance of Cumbia in Ya no estoy aquí,” will connect the historical roots of cumbia, a musical genre that emerged from Colombia and then became popular across the Americas, with the film Ya no estoy aquí (I am no Longer Here, 2019). In the movie, cumbia serves as the backdrop for a young Mexican man who migrates between Monterrey and New York.

“The attendees will be able to learn more about the historical roots of cumbia and the central contributions of Afro-descendant and Indigenous groups from Colombia to this musical genre,” Suárez Ontaneda explained. “Through the work of Afro-Colombian choreographer Delia Zapata Olivella, people will also be able to connect the migration story that served as the foundation for cumbia with the current migratory experiences of the Latinx community.”

Suárez Ontaneda is an assistant professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies at Xavier University in Cincinnati. He examines the production of racialized discourse through performances in Brazil, Colombia and Peru during the second half of the twentieth century.

The lecture will be hosted online through Zoom.

About Loras College
Founded in 1839, Loras College leverages its historic roots as Iowa’s first college, the second oldest Catholic college west of the Mississippi River and one of the nation’s 10 diocesan colleges to deliver challenging, life-changing experiences as part of its residential, Catholic setting. In 2020, Loras was ranked the 16th Best Regional College in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report and one of America’s Top 200 Most Loved Colleges/Universities by Forbes Magazine for the fourth consecutive year. Loras students ranked No. 2 in the world as part of the global Peeptrade Investment Challenge while a second group ranked No. 4. For the 12th consecutive year, Loras Media Studies student-led television station (LCTV) was named the TV Station of the Year by the Iowa College Media Association (ICMA).