Smithsonian Folkways Mourns the Passing of Artist Carlos Rojas Hernández
With heavy heart, the Smithsonian Folkways family laments the passing of our internationally respected friend, collaborator, and Folkways artist Carlos Rojas Hernández. Founder and leader of the renowned música llanera (plains music) group Cimarrón, Carlos produced the 2004 Grammy-nominated album Sí, Soy Llanero: Joropo Music from the Orinoco Plains of Colombia. At the time, Colombia’s premier newspaper El Tiempo stated that it was the first Colombian music album, recorded in Colombia, to be nominated for an “Anglo” Grammy. He followed with several appearances at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, a producer credit for the 2009 Folkways album Maiteí América: Harps of Paraguay, and lead artist on the 2011 Folkways recording ¡Cimarrón! Joropo Music from the Plains of Colombia. According to his life partner and Cimarrón lead singer Ana Veydó, Carlos and Cimarrón toured around the world, visiting 38 countries on five continents. Of his passing, the Colombian government announced on Facebook, “The Ministry of Culture deeply laments the passing of maestro Carlos ‘Cuco’ Rojas, leader of @CimarronCol. We highlight his great contribution to Colombian music as an interpreter, producer, arranger, and composer.” Folkways director emeritus Daniel Sheehy adds, “Carlos was a cherished friend and enormously talented artist and producer, leaving me with some of the fondest memories of my lifetime. His pride in his beloved culture of Colombia’s Orinoco plains was exuberant and unflagging. He leaves an indelible footprint on the world’s music.” Smithsonian Folkways pledges to keep his legacy alive through recordings, video features, and articles.