I made my first visit to Colombia this past February and was immediately fascinated with the place. Everything from the rough-around-the-edges charm of Bogota, to the exotic tropical fruit juices, to the vibrant nightlife left me craving more. Today on Spotify I found an album that brought all of those Colombian travel experiences rushing back – a just-released compilation called “The Original Sound of Cumbia.”
What’s Cumbia, you say? Well, it’s a musical style uniquely typical of Colombia, an infectious blend of trumpets, drums and accordions that combines the influence of indigenous tribes, Spanish colonists and rhythms brought from Africa by slaves. Basically it’s the type of music that will have you dancing around your desk and shaking your hips to the pulsing, catchy tunes. Sound interesting? Well The Original Sound of Colombia is exactly what you need to get started. Created by the musical experts at Soundway Records, the 2-disc album collects some of the genre’s greatest hits from all the way back in 1948 all the way up to 1979. The meticulously selected songs chart the rise of this elegant, catchy, fun and joyous sound as it evolved from peasant party music to the official soundtrack of Colombia.
Many music-lovers are guilty of banishing non-American and non-European bands to a catch-all genre called World Music. Before you write off The Original Sound of Cumbia as just another collection of music from some strange South American country, give it a listen on Spotify or buy the CD from Soundway. Even if you’ve never been to Colombia, we promise it will have you dancing circles around your laptop while you book the next flight down to Bogota.