Latin » Mexican Traditions » Cumbia

The term Cumbia refers to both a style of Colombian folk-dance music, which originated on the country's northern Atlantic coast, and its dominant rhythm, which was assimilated into a great deal of Latin-American music in the Northern Hemisphere. Cumbia was a synthesis of the traditions of three separate cultures: former slaves of African descent, who contributed the rhythms and percussion instruments; descendants of European colonists, primarily Hispanics, who influenced the music's melodic progressions; and native Americans descended from Andean tribes, who affected cumbia's melodic and harmonic sense and also contributed the flutes on which cumbia was initially played. Additionally, the geographical location of Colombia's northern coast left the area open to influences from the Caribbean, which probably accounts for cumbia's resemblance to other styles from the region; the most notable similarity is its steady backbeat, which is closer to Jamaican popular music than to the fluid, shifting rhythms of Latin jazz and salsa. In its purest, most folk-derived form, cumbia is played on a combination of African drums and native American flutes, but the accordion eventually became the most popular lead instrument; organ and harp have also found favor in some quarters. Cumbia's infectious, highly danceable beat found its way overseas, beginning around the 1960s, and became an indispensable tool for many Latin bands and orchestras; it achieved special popularity in Mexico, where many groups incorporated it into their repertoire of popular songs. The cumbia tradition helped give rise to vallenato, a similar style that became Colombia's signature sound during the late 20th century; the main differences are that vallenato is usually played at a slower tempo, places a great deal more emphasis on the poetry of its lyrics, and draws from several different rhythms instead of one signature beat.

Cumbia Artists Highlights

Gerardo Ortíz
Gerardo Ortíz
Carlos Vives
Carlos Vives
Selena
Selena
Los Ángeles Azules
Los Ángeles Azules
Bronco
Bronco
La Dame Blanche
La Dame Blanche

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Cumbia Album Highlights

Cumbia Cumbia
Various Artists
Cumbia Cumbia
Inolvidables
Los Ángeles Azules
Inolvidables
Hoy Más Fuerte
Gerardo Ortíz
Hoy Más Fuerte
Super Exitos
La Sonora Dinamita
Super Exitos
30 Pegaditas de Oro, Vol. 1
Pastor López
30 Pegaditas de Oro, Vol. 1
Prometiendo Amor
Los Llayras
Prometiendo Amor

More Cumbia Albums

Cumbia Song Highlights

Title/Composer Performer Stream
Amor Prohibido Selena
El Celoso Los Bukis
Cumbias Michoacanas
Los Bukis
Bonita Juanes / Sebastián Yatra
Fuego Cruzado Gerardo Ortíz
Saoko
Rosalía
Te Quiero a Ti Los Bukis
Presiento Que Voy a Llorar [Album Version] Los Bukis
Como Tu Carlos Vives
Como Te Voy a Olvidar Los Ángeles Azules

More Cumbia Songs

Other Styles in Mexican Traditions