Music

Carlos Vives Talks ‘Regreso a Escalona’ Documentary: ‘People Will Discover Very Profound Things’

Thirty years after Carlos Vives starred in the television series Escalona and released his iconic album Clásicos de la Provincia, the Colombian star takes viewers back in time in the documentary Regreso a Escalona, which arrives on April 3 in the U.S. and multiple Latin American countries through the streaming platform ViX.

The film — distributed by Caracol Television and produced by Mestiza Films — shows how Vives sought inspiration again in Rafael Escalona, one of the most important vallenato songwriters of all time, while going after an old school notebook of Escalona’s that contained the lyrics of classics such as “La Historia,” “El Testamento” and “Jaime Molina.” It was from that notebook that Vives’ Latin Grammy-winning album for best cumbia/vallenato album in 2023, Escalona Nunca se Había Grabado Así, emerged.

Regreso a Escalona was perhaps the way I found to be able to capture an era, a time, a very special place in my life, in music and especially in what is known as the vallenato legend,” Vives tells Billboard Español about the exclusive release.

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“It’s the way I found for maybe time not to go away, to trap it on film, because people will discover very profound things that happened, they’re going to live them, they’re going to see them, and I don’t think time will allow us to live them again,” he adds with emotion, fighting back tears.

In this chronicle that takes him to Valledupar, the world capital of vallenato in the Province of Padilla, the singer of “La Tierra del Olvido” and “La Gota Fría” is accompanied by his dear friend and accordion player Egidio Cuadrado, the person through whom Vives “deeply” learned the world of Escalona. They travel in the Ford F150 truck that belonged to Escalona, ​​whose son — who keeps it in good shape — lent to them.

“A part of the documentary that I find impressive is when Egidio’s sister, Dina Luz, who was Escalona’s partner, appears,” says Vives, adding that when the idea of ​​the project arose, he immediately thought of inviting his “compadre Egidio,” who in recent years has gone through health problems.

“It was like trying to go against his illness,” Vives says. “It was like denying everything and going as if nothing was happening to a recording studio to make this album, and then traveling with him around the region in that truck. … Being able to go back and remember when I was riding my bike with him on that road that linked all those towns in the Province of Padilla, like being young again with him there, returning to those places.”

For Vives, the idea is to condense and rescue that moment of Colombian music, and for the audience to discover “that imagery that surrounded Egidio and that town of Villanueva that has produced very important musicians” and understand the reason of Vives’ passion for all of this.

Return to Escalona premiered May 1, 2023, on Canal Caracol in Colombia, and days later arrived in the U.S. as part of the Colombian Film Festival NY. On April 3, it will be available through ViX’s premium streaming plan.

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