It’s in the Caribbean coastal region of Colombia where the origins of the cumbia ensemble or the conjunto de gaitas began. However, unlike most popular Latin American music – the gaita was not just the amalgamation of African (drums) and European (lyrics) traditions – but it also fused an Amerindian ( flute) element as well.
Folkloric groups from the Atlantic region of Colombia still perform this early genre of cumbia to this day. Consisting of a very deep sounding drum choir – the bombo, the tambor macho, and the tambor hembra. Accompanied by some wild sounding flutes: flauto de millo, gaita macho, and the gaita hembra. It’s this Amerindian sound that the big band style cumbia seems to have removed later on, replacing these folk clarinets (fashioned from cane) with brass ensembles. I partially don’t blame them in trying to modernize the sound, sometimes this form of gaita music can be almost too idiosyncratic to listen to.
With that, I went a step further and included some tracks in this post that blend this traditional form of Colombian music with a more contemporary sound. The results are pretty amazing. From big band cumbia, to funk, to a cover of Rod Stewart’s “Do You Think I’m Sexy”. I can contest, with heavy rotation, that most these songs have been pretty effective on the dance floor. It keeps the people moving and I’m always constantly being asked where this music is from. Anyway, sorry for the lack of posts lately, I’ve been super busy. I’ll try to get some more good music out this month. Like always…Enjoy!