If you’re looking to stretch it out and dance this weekend, we recommend tapping into the boundless rhythms of one of the most musically and culturally diverse nations in the Americas, Colombia. We’re highlighting the incredible musical output that Colombia has generated over the past 70-plus years by offering up a trio of genre stations: Cumbia Colombiana, Salsa Colombiana and Vallenato.
The rhythm that has become most synonymous with Colombian identity is that of Cumbia. Centuries in the making and born out of the confluence of African, Indigenous and European cultures; Cumbia is by far the most popular Latin American dance rhythm and continues to be endlessly appropriated and adopted up and down the hemisphere, spawning countless offshoots and innovations.
Vallenato must also be noted when discussing the profundity of Colombian music. Born out of the same cross-cultural roots as Cumbia, Vallenato – with its romantic/melancholic lyrics and fervent accordion phrases punctuated by expressive bass-lines – has since eclipsed its musical sibling commercially as the preferred genre of the two in Colombia. Peak performers of Vallenato include, Los Diablitos, Binomio de Oro de América, Jorge Celedón & Jimmy Zambrano, Diomedes Díaz, Rafael Orozco and Los Chiches Vallenatos.
In the realm of tropical music, Colombia has helped to set the template that countless musicians and bands have followed. For the uninitiated or the seasoned aficionado of Latin music, we hope that this window into the richness and diversity of an extremely gifted nation affords an excuse to hit the dance floor and express your inner Colombiano.