In the 40’s, Carlos Paez Vilaró moved by the
"candombe"(native music and dance) and by the
"comparsas" (groups of black people
dancing at the drums rythm) decided to live in the
"Mediomundo" tenement housing, an old large place
mostly inhabited by
Climbing an old broken down staircase one reached a room
called "Yacumenza". This was the real home of the
All the drums of the "comparsas" rested there
waiting to be woken up in carnival.
The uruguayan negro generously opened him his arms and life,
kindly offering the richness of its folklore so that Carlos
Páez Vilaró could
express it with the eyes of an artist.
He started designing clothes for the "lubolos"
(parties of the lively native dances), decorating their
faces, drums and banners.
Then he composed "candombes" which began and
finish their echoes n carnival.
Finally he painted the negroes’ way of life in all its
forms. Lullabies, negroes masses, weddings, callings,
"comparsas" (living dances
and music ), popular dances, funerals or Christmas themes
were all shown in his works.
When the themes based on the "candombe" was run
out, he was tempted to leave that place and investigate its
roots. This obliged him
to cross frontiers to African countries.
His passion was finally enriched in the black continent by
its jungles and rivers, by its tribes and villages, by its
animals and markets. All
helped to inspire him.
Many of his experiences are found in various books on the
subject, such as: "Candombe"; "Bahía";
"Candango"; " "Affiches" (Graffities);
"La Casa del Negro" (The Negro’s Home);
"Mediomundo, un mundo de recuerdos" (Middleworld,
a world of memmories) and "Cantos de Comparsa"
(Living native music and
dances), where he gathered anecdotes, thoughts, living
experiences and comments showing his daily walk through
life. These are living
historical documents of which Uruguay is very proud of.
Since fifty years ago, Carlos Páez Vilaró, with his drum
on his shoulder goes to Montevideo on the 1 st. Fridays of
February to join the
"Morenada" comparsa taking part in the drums