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Uploaded on Sep 5, 2008
Francisco Pacho Rada
Pacho Rada was born on May 11th 1907 in Las Mulas, on the great Magdalena river. European ships from have travelled along the river since the mid-19th century and this is where Pacho's father bought an accordion from German sailors, becoming one of Columbia's first accordionists. At a party in a village nearby, young Pacho picked up his father's accordion while no-one was looking. After trying out a few notes he produced a recognisable rendition of the melody of "La Chencha", a tune still familiar today. His father embraced him joyfully and a few days later he was given his first accordion. Pacho Rada was one of the first troubadours to travel around the country playing unaccompanied, with just his voice and the accordion, bearing news and making music wherever someone had something to celebrate. He dreamt up hundreds of new songs on his travels, many of which have become classics. He is known as the man who invented "son", one of the four Vallenato rhythms. However, Pacho was already too old by the time that musicians could get rich playing Vallenato music, when it became popular outside the province due to the marihuana boom in the seventies. At the age of 72 he became homeless once again. His children helped him to put up a simple house on the outskirts of Santa Maria, where he still lives. Pacho Rada has 422 grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. Women loved the young musician, but their parents despised him. Pacho "Who would have wanted a penniless son-in-law, especially if he travelled around like a vagabond and spent his days enjoying music, rum and women. But they couldn't do a thing about it. Who can stop a woman in love?"