Las Alegres Ambulancias

Sunday Jul 6, 2014

1701 Fourth Street SW
Albuquerque, NM 87102-4508

Phone: 246-2261
Website: Click to Visit




Phone: (505) 724-4771


Las Alegres Ambulancias de San Basilio de Palenque is an amazing band from the 500-year old cabildo/lumbalu tradition. The name of the group explains the philosophy of the Afro-Colombians of Palenque in their relationship with death. Happiness (alegres) is the vehicle (ambulancias) of change from one state of being to another – in short life continues. The ensemble features three singers/dancers and three percussionists performing on traditional Afro-Colombian drums and are known for turning every funeral into a party.


Las Alegres Ambulancias is no museum piece having been transformed from generation to generation, evolving with the community, its traditions, fiestas, funerals and daily life in general. Along with traditional singers and drummers the band incorporates electric guitar and bass into this living tradition.

See also: Music to Your Ears

Folklore à la Colombia

Las Alegres Ambulancias
Courtesy of artist

Here in the US, death is an increasingly isolated, sanitized and medicalized experience. It’s fairly rare for a loved one to die at home these days. From caring for the dying to burying (or cremating) the body to hosting funerals—increasingly framed as celebrations of life—our relationship to death has lost essential immediacy and intimacy alongside technological advancement. Founded in 1905, Las Alegres Ambulancias is a band of the Afro-Colombian cabildo/lumbalu tradition, wherein drummers and singers mediate the struggle between Death personified and the loved ones of the recently deceased. The acclaimed Colombian group performs at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (1701 Fourth Street SW) on Sunday, July 6, at 7:30pm. Tickets for this all-ages concert are $17 in advance, $22 the day of the show and $7 for kids under 15.

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