Songlines | Colombia

Colombia Profile

  • Related Artists: Sidestepper, Totó la Momposina
  • Related Genres: Cumbia

Even during the ruinous civil war that finally ended with an historic ceasefire in 2016, Colombia never lost its place as a powerhouse of Latin music. In large part, this was down to the country’s role as the birthplace of cumbia. One of the great Latin rhythms with its distinctively shuffling steps and airily syncopated melodies, cumbia ensembles initially developed on Colombia’s Atlantic coast as percussion and vocal groups but soon expanded to add fresh layers of instrumentation, including brass and electric keyboards. But Colombia is a vast country and other popular styles include the accordion-led music called vallenanto, the harp-led llanera of the plains and the rootsy champeta style of the Pacific coast.

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