Aug 06

The Trendy Traveller’s Guide to Colombian Fusion Music (Guest Post)

Chocquibtown, image by Ernest

The musical tapestry of Colombia is an incredibly rich and diverse one – reflective of the diverse cultures and peoples of Colombia. It is one of the many things I love about Colombia.

That tapestry is much more diverse than most people know about.

New forms of Colombian music

Traditional forms of Colombian music, or the more popular mainstream ones, are well-known throughout the world:  Salsa – Merengue – Cumbia – Vallenato – Reggaeton.  There is also a long list of lesser known traditional Colombian music genres:  Porro – Palenque – Champeta – Currulao –Merecumbe.  You will find all of those styles of music and more in Colombia – made and played by incredible artists.  I love it all.

Colombian rock music, metal music, jazz music, reggae music, electronic music and more, can also be found.

Importantly, what you will also find in Colombia (but just need to know to look) is contemporary Colombian music that doesn’t fit into any of those neat musical genre boxes…Music with different flavours that combines a bit of this genre with a bit of that genre.

There are many Colombian bands creating really fantastic and unique music by mixing traditional forms of Colombian music with jazz, funk, soul, drum and bass, reggae, dub, hip hop and electronic music.  I call it Colombian ‘fusion music’ – and it is an alternative music scene to popular mainstream Colombian music.

Love affair with the music of Colombia

When I first came to Colombia in 2007, I found what are now the better known Colombian fusion bands:  Bomba Estereo – Sidestepper – Systema Solar – and Choc Quib Town.  I fell in love with the unique and interesting sounds in the music they were making, and wanted more of it.

I have been searching for, and finding other Colombian fusion music ever since.

I buy some Colombian music CD’s that I hear about on-line, from my home base in Australia. Better than that though, is going to the right music stores whenever I visit Colombia – and getting a bag of Colombian musical goodies to take home with me.

Where to find the latest Colombian bands

The best music store I have found in Colombia for buying Colombian fusion music is Musiteca in Bogota (Cra 8, # 18-81, Local 203). Musiteca has the biggest selection of Colombian bands – lots of fusion music – and independent music direct from the artist to the store, so you might not find it anywhere else.  Go in and tell the owner Cesar what types of music you like, and he will give you a pile of CD’s to listen to.

Live music shows are the ultimate musical experience for me though.  When I come to Colombia, and anywhere else in the world I go, I look for those live experiences.

There are lots of live fusion music gigs to be found in Colombia– at bars, cultural spaces and the many Colombian festivals throughout the year.   Most Colombian fusion bands are based in Bogota, but you will also find them in most other Colombian cities.

The bigger and more obvious places to look for fusion music bands are at festivals like Rock al Parque, Hip Hop al Parque, and Festival Centro.

There are a few bars in Bogota that support original music and have very regular live gigs – Latino Power Bar (Calle 58 # 13 -88 );  A Seis Manos (Calle 22 # 8-60); and Quibra Canto (Carrera 5 # 17-76).  There are bigger venues like El Teatro Metro en El Centro. Also check the program for regular concerts at la Fundacion Gilberto Alzate Avendano.

In Medellin keep an eye out for the weekly gigs at 3 Cordilleras. If you’re in town when la Feria de Las Flores is on in August, make sure you check out Parque Cultural Nocturno where you will generally always find some contemporary Colombian fusion music.

Go ahead – have a listen

Colombian fusion music is awesome and unique. It is just one of the many things I am hooked on and love about Colombia.  Don’t miss out on finding it when you’re in Colombia!

Here is a list of Colombian fusion bands I recommend checking out:

AfrotumbaoAlerta KamaradaBambarabandaBelembeBomba EstereoChoc Quib TownEyeleFrente CumbieroHerencia de TimbiquiKinteto Pacifico La Makina del KaribeLa RepublicaMituMonaretaPapaya RepublikProfetasPuerto CandelariaPulentaSidestepperSystema Solar TumbacatreZalama Crew .

All these bands have websites or Facebook &  Myspace pages. I have just started to review these and other fusion music bands on my own blog, with sample tracks, so you can also find more information there if you want it.

Enjoy la musica de fusion Colombiana!


Be sure to check out Beaver On The Beats‘ fantastic blog that comes choc-a-bloc with information about the best new world music.

3 thoughts on “The Trendy Traveller’s Guide to Colombian Fusion Music (Guest Post)

    Beaver on

    Some more Colombian fusion bands to add to the list:
    Aluvion – Cabuya – Curupira – Kartel Pacifico – Malalma – Mama Julia y Los Sonidos Ambulantes – Monsieur Perine – Ondatropica – Velandia y La Tigra
    Beaver on the Beats


      Azzam on

      Thanks for that! Definitely some great bands in there…


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