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Cantemos, Bailemos, Vamos a Celebrar!

By ETM Social Media and Content Manager Jennifer Williams

Can’t travel this summer? 

Don’t worry, we have got you covered! 

Travel the world with Education Through Music as we explore some of the world’s most beautiful countries and their music

This week, ETM teacher David Martinez teaches us all about his native country of Colombia

Located in South America, Colombia shines through its beautiful mountaintops, tropical rainforests, and beaches. Referred to as the “land of a thousand rhythms,” Colombia is known for its music and coffee! 

Colombian music differs by region and is heavily influenced by African, native Indigenous, and Spanish cultures.  The two most popular genres of Colombian music are the cumbia and vallenato

Cumbia is also Colombia’s national dance, and originated on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. The tambora, tambor alegre, and the lamador are three drums commonly used in traditional cumbia, as well as three flutes. The melody is played on the gaita hembra (flute). One of the most famous cumbias, which David includes in his lesson, is El Pescador by Jose Barros, popularized by Colombian icon Totó La Momposina.

Like cumbia, vallenato comes mostly from Colombia’s Caribbean region and means “born in the valley.” Vallenatos are composed of three instruments, the guacharaca, a wooden percussion instrument: the caja, a type of drum; and the accordion. 

David shared his favorite vallenato El Testamento, a song that describes the Colombian geography and is actually a love story. 

Fun fact! In 2006, cumbia and vallenato were added as categories at the Latin Grammy Awards! 

And we can’t forget Colombia’s most famous musician –  Shakira!

In this lesson David teaches us a little bit more about cumbia. Watch how he creates the cumbia rhythms using different instruments, and there may even be some dancing!