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Colombia is a country that straddles both the Pacific and the Caribbean, so it’s not surprising that Colombian music reflects a wealth of musical influences that have given birth to a dynamic musical environment.

In general, Colombian music blends Spanish-influenced guitar and song structure with large gaita flutes and percussion instruments from the indigenous population, while its percussion structure and dance forms come from Africa.

Styles / Genres:

Colombia has traditionally been known for cumbia, a musical style popular in the coastal areas, and vallenato which is more popular in the valleys of eastern Colombia. In the last ten years, Carlos Vives has burst on the world music scene with his own rock / vallenato brand of music.


In the 1970’s, Colombians went crazy for salsa. The man who was most instrumental in creating Colombia’s salsa scene was Julio Ernesto Estrada Rincon, known as “Fruko”, who with his band, Fruko y los Tesos, began heating up the streets of the urban coast. Colombia’s most famous salsero, Alvaro Jose “Joe” Arroyo won Cali’s “Congo del Oro” prize so many times that they created a special “Super-Congo” category for him.
In the 1980s, Grupo Niche, one of Colombia’s greatest salsa bands, was formed and remains a favorite with fans of hard salsa (as opposed to salsa romantica) everywhere.

Pop / Rock:

Today there's a new generation of Colombian artists that is setting the Latin pop scene on fire, led by Latin pop superstar Shakira and Juanes.
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