El Salado, Colombia



As an extension to our Colombia trip at the end of 2010 we travelled from Bogotá to the ‘Montes de María’ area in the region of Bolívar close to Colombia’s Caribbean coast nestled in the hillside peaks is the small town of El Salado. In February 2000 the town was victim to the worst paramilitary massacre suffered in the history of long civil war that continues to ravage great swathes of Colombia and has done for decades.
Several charities are working to oversee the return of hundreds of displaced families, who fled after the massacre, to the town. One of these charities, CIREC, invited us to work with them on the establishment of a centre of communications. Again Jon and Tim led the advance party, travelling the arduous route to set up the studio in a municipal building in the heart of the town.

The studio is principally set up for radio production but is also capable of music production. As part of our commitment to the project, FT directors Kary Stewart and Nick Minton spent nine days in the town conducting workshops in Radio and Music production respectively. Before the time was up, Kary’s radio students broadcast three hour long live shows on a live stream. Listen to FairTunes radio broadcast.

Nick also recorded the amazing Carmelo Torres a local accordion player who is also a ‘Cumbia’ legend. Carmelo and his band travelled up from their home in San Jacinto and were immediately swamped by the adoring fans in El Salado. Unfortunately, halfway through the recording of their tunes the town was hit by a power cut; a common problem in a town such as this. Undeterred, the patient Carmelo and his band waited, played an impromptu acoustic gig for the town in the back garden of the FairTunes studio, and spent hours with the children from Kary’s radio workshop. The kids interviewed the band in what turned out to be an amazing experience for all involved.