Colombia with thousands of rhythms


If you already were so lucky to travel to Colombia, this article on Colombian music and dances will inevitably remind you memories! If you do not know this country yet, it’s time to go.

Mixed cultures, these dances and music are one of the greatest riches of this beautiful country. Now you just have to learn a few steps of Salsa!



Key features and roadmap

Like Brazil and Cuba, Colombia lives at the rhythm of music. James Rodriguez, the famous Colombian football player celebrates each goal record by dancing a «salsa choque» on the grass. The city of Cali is seen as the « capital of salsa » which is considered to be born in New York. Colombia adds in at least three music
festivals per month. This why is called the « country of thousands of rhythms ».

Key features

American Indian, Spanish and African have created the traditional Colombian music within four centuries of cultural sharing. According to the regions, instruments, songs, dances and the source of rhythms have merged to create a wide diversity of styles largely opened to influences of International popular music.

Colombian passion! Caribbean music

Greatly labelled by the Afro-Colombian culture and opened to International Black music influences, the «ritmos del caribe» are very trendy and evolve over and over. Their musical centre is Cartagena, the cumbia’s emblematic land, sensual mix of indigenous and african sounds. Mostly unknown, the San Basilio de Palenque drums bands are in an old village established by escaped slaves.

Key features « Colombia with thousands of rhytms »

Trend & tradition! «El vallenato»

Ce rythme, né sur la côté caribéenne de La Guajira, forme avec la salsa le duo musical le plus populaire en Colombie. D’ailleurs le « vallenato » se danse un peu comme une salsa plus lente. L’accordéon et les instruments de percussion indigènes et africains qui l’accompagnent donnent le son si particulier de ce rythme qui maintient inaltérables ses racines folkloriques et traditionnelles.

Le son des tropiques ! La salsa de Cali

C’est la capitale incontestée de la salsa colombienne. Cali a créé un style de salsa endiablé et rapide qui fait école à travers le monde entier. Située dans la vallée tropicale du Cauca, région de plantations de cannes à sucre, la ville de Cali est également un bastion de la culture afro-colombienne. 


Andean Music!

Very different from the one in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador, the music of the Andes is played with string instruments and may include songs and dances. «El Bambuco» is the most common. Please note that the Spanish influence in this region has led to a sacred fine music played mainly during the Holy Week, the week before Easter, in Villa de Leyva, Popayan and in the coffee region.

The most surprising! The Medellin Tango

Since its origins, early 20th century, tango has two homelands: Buenos Aires and Medellin. Carlos Gardel, tango icon, performed his last concert there before he died on a plane crash. Since, he is venerated as a local star. You cannot go to Medellin without stopping by one of the «tango bars»…

The most lyrical! The «Llanera» music

Soft and sometimes melancholic, the rhythms arise in the Llanos, plains with no ending on the Colombian eastern side which are dedicated to the bovine farming and have a remarkable rich wildlife and flora. Along with harp and maracas, the «Llanera music» is the country music of Colombia…

Yuri Buenaventura

© Bastien Internicola

Meeting with the Colombian Music Star

A full interview where Yuri Buenaventura explains, analyses with passion the music of Colombia, he even sings to outline and illustrate the variations between Colombian and Latin American sounds. Let’s talk about salsa: « This rhythm was created by Puerto Rican immigrants in New York, to feel a bit more at home and escape from their, sometimes, difficult daily life, thanks to this explosive, sensual, festive music. » Then salsa migrated to Latino countries, «in a joyful energy of brotherhood between people» until it became the sound of Latin America.

Everyone will perform with his own style. Cali’s salsa has the flavor of Cauca valley Afro rhythms. More dancing, faster too. « The salsa singer from Cali must be sensitive to the dancers on the dance floor in order to transfer the frenetic rhythm from which they invent elegant and also elaborated dance steps. Even acrobatics. » Yuri says in the fifties, radios were swinging from 78rpm speed to 45rpm, which gave the unique sound of the salsa from Cali.

Born in Buenaventura, Colombian harbor on the Pacific coast, Yuri Buenaventura was rocked by the traditional drums of Black communities. « The drums of Buenaventura are not the same as the mystical ones from San Basilio de Palenque in the Caribbean area, nevertheless as much pervaded by the same magic source: Afro culture and indigenous influences ».
Among his projects, Yuri would like to organize a music festival in Buenaventura like he did in 2011 and do a project based on the sound from Buenaventura and the one from Salvador de Bahia in Brazil. «a musical journey through Latin America.»