Photo: Omar Baez Camarena
Colombia is a music-loving country. From the northern tip of the Guajira peninsula to the southern reaches of the Colombian Amazon, the nation pulses with the beats of drums, guitars, percussion and, yes, accordions.
But it’s not a homogenous sound – rather, it’s a symphony of different rhythms, instruments and beats. Each region of the country has its own distinct musical tradition, developed from different cultural influences and the backgrounds of the people living there.
Sometimes it seems like each and every individual town has its own particular musical styling. One of the most important and uniquely Colombian genres, however, is cumbia, a traditional rhythm that blends the musical influences of many of the diverse cultures and ethnicities on Colombia’s Caribbean coast and continues to provide inspiration for many of the most popular Colombian bands today.
Photo: Eli Watson
Colombia is known as the land of salsa and cumbia, but the country’s musical offerings aren’t limited to all rumba, all the time. As more foreigners continue to visit and international music becomes ever more popular, Colombia is turning into an important stop on the South America concert circuit for everyone from international DJs to superstars like Beyoncé. There’s a little something for everyone these days, whether your tastes run more toward EDM, reggae or even good old-fashioned ‘80s hair metal. Here’s a quick introduction to some of the biggest events and acts passing through Colombia in 2014:
Photo: Quito Tourism Office
Though already marked by controversy with the canceling of Quito’s quintessential act of celebration, the bullfights, this year’s “Fiestas de Quito” will still have more than 450 events held during the next three weeks for residents and visitors alike.
Fiestas de Quito is the capital city’s celebration to honor its founding, officially marked as December 6, 1534 when 204 Spanish conquerors entered the city where the Spanish would remain for three centuries during their colonial reign. Though the Spanish many years ago, their influence has remained to the present day. Though the diminishing cultural spectacle of the “toros” would seem a significant blow to the city, ever since the 1960s Quito’s annual celebration has grown in ways previously unimaginable.
If Argentina is associated with any one beverage, it’s usually wine, not beer. But many families in Argentina trace their roots back to Germany, and nowhere is that heritage more evident than in the massive Oktoberfest celebration each spring in Villa General Belgrano, a picturesque town in the province of Córdoba.
Photo: Mabel Flores
Chile celebrates its independence from Spain in September and the entire month is recognized as the “Month of the Nation.” The weather has begun to change, spring has almost arrived and the sun sets the mood for a celebration.
Fiestas Patrias, or more commonly, Dieciocho, are the names given to the holiday celebrations that take place on September 18 and 19. This year festivities will also take place on Monday the 17th. But don’t be surprised if you discover that the celebrations already got started. Because Chileans are patriotic and like to always have fun, the Fiestas Patrias provide a great excuse for a party.