BOGOTÁ, Colombia – It is said that during the years of extreme violence, around 1965,1 the water in Colombian rivers gradually turned red, until one day it was impossible to see the bed of polished stones that used to look like prehistoric eggs. The red streams reached the Magdalena, changing its color so menacingly that many feared that soon the Atlantic Ocean would become a red sea. Listening to Colombians speak about “la Violencia” in such terms one might be inclined to think about the persuasive hyperbole characteristic of Gabriel García Márquez. Such belief is reinforced by the swiftness with which they go from discussing “la Violencia” to narrating the origins of Ballenato. They say that early in the Twentieth Century a German merchant ship loaded to the gills with accordions sank near the Colombian shores.