due to its location between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, and the diversity of its
regions; these conditions have nourished a tri-cultural hybridism in music. As an
example, the indigenous population contributed with flutes and rattles; the Africans
added choral techniques, polyrhythm and dance structures. Both Africans and natives
attributed ceremonial significance to their instruments, music and dances. The Spaniards,
brought the song structure, renaissance harmonic theories, and western instruments: most
notably the guitar. (Morales, 2003).
Colombian Musical Genres
Colombia is divided into six distinctive regions: Atlantic, Pacific, Andean, Plains,
Amazon and Insular. Each region has unique musical genres based on the cultural fusion
among its Spanish, indigenous, and African inhabitants.
The Atlantic region is the most representative of the tri-cultural blending; the
Cumbia is one of its most famous genres. The Pacific region has preserved
the African culture almost intact, which was slightly influenced by indigenous cultures;
the Currulao is one of its most known genres. The Andean region is
influenced mostly by the Spanish culture, with influences of African rhythm patterns and
indigenous melodic elements; Bambuco is its salient genre.
Link to other types of dance :)
Roots of the Currulao
The Pacific coast was inhabited by indigenous tribes who exchanged goods in
local markets, i.e. emeralds, gold, fish. Spaniards, aware of the potential of exploiting this
region, sent soldiers to subdue those communities. Natives died due to the excessive
work demanded in the mines and were replaced by African slaves. In 1533, a shipwreck
gave a group of slaves the opportunity to escape. They arrived to a village of natives and
took control, developing a mix zambo community of Africans and natives, which
prevented the Spaniards of enslaving them again. This was possible because of the
Spanish’s interest in building routes to the coast, and to continue the exploitation of
emerald mines. (Cardenas, 1995).
The Currulao is a dance developed in the pacific coast by runaways and African
slaves working on mines, landed property and plantations, i.e. sugarcane and tobacco.
These isolated communities, show authentic reminiscences of Africa; displaying
joyful and explosive attitudes, satire and deep sadness, transferred into the Currulao
genre, a magic sacramental rite that offered them ancestral strength. (Ministerio de
educacion nacional –6, 2009).
Currulao Song : Mi buenaventura :