Sesiones Macarena 360: An Audiovisual Journey Through Bogotá’s Creative Nexus06 October, 2023
Two years ago, a significant addition to Bogotá’s thriving artistic spectrum emerged from the heart of the La Macarena neighbourhood – “Sesiones Macarena 360”. These inaugural live-recorded sessions brought together well known figures from Colombia’s music scene, including La Sonora Mazurén, Briela Ojeda and Rizomagic, for intimate gatherings.
While the concept may appear familiar to those acquainted with live music sessions, with giants like KEXP and NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts having set the gold standard, what distinguishes the Macarena sessions, especially in the era of virtual reality, is the immersive 360-degree experience they deliver.
Set amidst Bogotá’s vibrant La Macarena neighbourhood, one of the capital’s most prominent creative hubs, these sessions immerse the audience in a 360-degree view, transporting viewers through the lens into the heart of this charming neighbourhood of iconic architecture, quaint bookshops, artists’ residences and golden-hued sunsets.
With a total runtime of 80 minutes, the second series of Sesiones Macarena 360 constitutes an audiovisual spectacle. Showcasing the nuances of the surroundings in tandem with performances from a meticulously curated lineup, the sessions provide an intimate experience where the audience gains unparalleled access to the artist’s inner sanctum. The remarkable sound quality mirrors the intimacy of the visual performances and is perhaps the yardstick by which these sessions will ultimately be judged.
The season kicks off with the dulcet voice of Noelia Maffiold, as she and her band perch on a rooftop beneath the imposing eastern cordillera that towers over the neighbourhood, offering a panoramic view of the city’s skyline. As the sun sets and eventually fades into darkness, the atmospheric – and at times haunting – compositions become even more pronounced against this stunning panorama.
Juan Ignacio Arbaiza / La Resbalosa
The renowned Torres del Parque is a masterpiece envisioned in the 1930s by the late architect Rogelio Salmona, himself a former resident of La Macarena. This red-brick structure overlooking the city’s old bullring emblematises the barrio’s identity. Playing adjacent to the fountain in the towers’ courtyard and penned in by charming cafés and local shops, what stands out in this session is the warm and crisp audio quality amidst this spacious atmosphere. Watching shadows fade and lengthen as the afternoon plays out, the performance concludes to the applause of local spectators. You feel you’ve spent an afternoon immersed in the harmonious interplay of the quartet’s euphonium, saxophone, percussion, and guitar.
Sara Y Jacobo
While the first two sessions of this second series showcase La Macarena’s outdoor ambience, it’s the latter two that invite you into its hidden corners. Sara and Jacobo’s slow-paced melodies, aching vocals and pining harmonies find their home in the neighbourhood’s intimate Matorral bookshop. Their mellower tunes create a captivating contrast with the bustling rush hour cityscape visible through the window behind them as night falls.
In the series’ final instalment, we return to the iconic Torres de la Macarena, bringing us full circle. This time, however, the performance is set within the building that has served as a prominent backdrop throughout the preceding episodes. Jahra Dúo introduces earthy and raw sounds, opening with hand percussion and acapella vocals and going on to paint a soundscape of spoken word, woodwinds, and prominent basslines. This cozy sonic experience unfolds against the grey skies so often seen in the Colombian capital, providing a fitting end to this fascinating series.
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