What is a Trova?
The Feria de Manizales features a Trova contest (the 2nd most important Trova competition in Colombia) -- but what exactly is a Trova?
A trova is a simple rhyming song that is used to express personal experiences that are often considered a subtle form of political or cultural commentary.
Where did the Trova come from?
Originally, the trovas were songs sung by jugglers in the Middle Ages. The concept arrived in Spain from France and then in Latin America via Spain. And while Trovas are sung in other parts of Latin America -- Cuba, Mexico, Peru. Colombia, and in particular the Paisas of Antioquia and the Coffee growing region, have made it a cultural competition.
What is a Trova competition?
In order to take this art form to the "next level," Pasias have made the trova an improvisational competition. The participants -- trovadores -- must seamlessly link one singer's idea to the next singer's idea while rhyming (typically a, b, b, a or a, b, a, b) and often playing the guitar (tiple). Just seconds prior to the competition, a topic is assigned by a panel of judges, then the two battle it out and are judged on the lyrics that they invent on the fly and how well they link to their competition.
Here is a video of a competition: