Visual Encyclopedia

Cumbia

Cumbia [ˈkumbja] folkloric rhythm and dance from Colombia. It began as a courtship dance practiced among the Indigenous population on the Caribbean coasts of Colombia. It later mixed with African and European instruments, steps and musical characteristics. By the 1940s cumbia began spreading from the coast to other parts of Colombia alongside other costeña form of music, like porro and vallenato. Clarinetist Lucho Bermúdez helped bring cumbia into the country's interior. The early spread of cumbia internationally was helped by the number of record companies located on the coast. Originally a working-class populist music, cumbia was frowned upon by the elites, but as the music pervaded class association with the music subsided in Colombia and cumbia became a shared music in every sector of society.

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