Music is life in Colombia. Everywhere you go here on the coast, you hear it. People play it loudly for all to hear. So to share a very special part of Colombian culture with you, I’ll start posting music every now and then for you to all enjoy.
I’m going to start with a band that I knew of, just barely, back in the States: Bomba Estéreo. They definitely made their mark there, where they played three super important music festivals: SXSW, Bonnaroo, and Austin City Limits (I almost called this the holy trinity of festivals, but that would put Coachella in the place of ACL). Bomba Estereo formed in Bogotá, but has a special spot in costeño‘s hearts because the female voice of the band is from Santa Marta. In fact, one of our Peace Corps Volunteers lives with her family! Cool, huh?!
In their video for Somos Dos, you see clips of the beautiful Tayrona National Natural Park in Santa Marta. I haven’t been there yet, but it’s definitely on the to-do list!
As you may guess, Bomba Estéreo isn’t a typical Colombian band, at least here in this land of puro salsa y vallento. They take the salsa and cumbia beats that are integral to life here, and add modern electronic sounds and cool vocals over them to create something totally new. The band actually started out as a solo project with Simón Mejía mixing the tracks himself. The following video for Caminito is for one of the tracks of the first album. It’s not my favorite song, but I love two things about this video:
1. You can hear some gaita mixed in there, really bringing out the cumbia beats to this super-electronic track.
2. The footage is all from my town! It focuses on the muelle, or pier, of Puerto Colombia. I wrote all about this beloved structure in this post.
This last track is one of my favorites to hear at parties. Everytime the beat drops I just can’t help but drop my booty too. Unfortunately, they remixed this with Will Smith, and that’s the version that most people are probably familiar with. I know for fact that it was on the radio in Minneapolis at least once, because Marty and I heard it and hated on it hard. Please don’t let Will Smith ruin this song or Bomba Estéreo for you. Fiesta is a really great song that I hope goes on your party playlist now.