(Photo: Julian Castro)

Colombia is seeking UNESCO’s recognition of the folkloric music genre of vallenato as cultural heritage, President Juan Manuel Santos said Thursday.

The president did so in Valledupar, the capital of the northern Cesar state considered the country’s capital of the music genre.

“Vallenato recently was included as immaterial cultural heritage by the nation … and we are seeking that UNESCO also recognizes it as cultural heritage of humanity,” Santos said.

The president asked former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, who was with Santos at the event, “to help us … so that this will happen.”

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Vallenato — much like cumbia and porro — is one of a number folkloric music genres originating from the Caribbean coast. The music, characterized by the use of the accordion, is particularly popular along the northern coastline. Romanticized and commercialized versions of the folk music spread inland and to the neighboring country of Venezuela.


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