PICÓ: Un parlante de Africa en America

This film looks at the Colombian tradition of Picós, heavily decorated soundsystems that animate street parties of the Costa Atlàntica. Its history can be traced back to the 1960s, yet its roots are to be found deeper, at the time of slavery routes, when coastal cities like Barranquilla and Cartagena played a huge role as points of access in the trade.

As a privileged gateway, Colombia’s coast granted access to the technological devices and cultural products - including music from West Africa - that became the basis of Picó culture. The local painters, wood carvers and music selectors who stimulate the tradition are very much aware of its peculiar history and cultural significance: the Picó system carries a tradition of revolt against subjugation and the dispossessed’s struggle.

The film gives equal space to this loud and kaleidoscopic environment and to the naturally unfolding narrative of a story yet to be written. This multifaceted tradition is investigated here by video and was also developed in a recent compilation released by Honest Jon’s Records.