Winner of the 2016 Stockport Youth Orchestra Composition Competition, Ay Caray! is a composition for orchestra by Carlos Ágreda that was conceived to give an approach to contemporary techniques for young musicians, using an easy and attractive musical language. This piece is written to develop orchestral skills in new musicians in terms of orchestral balance, mixed metrics, polymeter, polyrhythm, and extended instrumental techniques; challenging young musicians to learn having fun.
The title makes reference to the everyday Spanish idiom expression "Ay Caray!" that is usually a result from small preoccupations of daily Colombian life. The composition is based on two traditional Colombian rhythms: Bambuco and Paseo Vallenato. These two rhythms are very different but this piece attempts to explore them and develop them as a single unit. Bambuco is a rather calm rhythm from the colder mountain region of Colombia, where the culture reflects this introversion and calmness. Vallenato, on the other hand, is popular in the hot Caribbean coast of Colombia where cultural aspects are more extroverted. The idea is to demonstrate the great cultural diversity of Colombia but at the same time the homogeneity of what being Colombian means, especially when we say "Ay Caray!".