Forget Juanes, forget Shakira and even put down your Carlos Vives album.
There’s far more to Colombian music than just these artists and limiting yourself to just these is to do the independent music scene an injustice.
While many may have heard of Bomba Estereo and ChocQuibTown from FIFA, or their various appearances on MTV Award shows, this is just scratching the surface of what’s on offer and, as these bands get bigger, it’s getting harder and harder to see them live.
Here’s an eclectic selection of bands from all over the country you should check out while you’re in Colombia, especially if you get the chance to go to a gig.
Sidestepper blend traditional Colombian rhythms with modern electronica to create music that’s perfect for post, pre and during your night out. It might not be immediately catchy, but it has a way of sticking with you.
2. Systema Solar
Insanely catchy, Systema Solar are like a more experimental and more electronic-focused ChocQuibTown. Hit song ‘Mi Kolombia’ will stick in your mind for weeks after hearing it. On top of that, they`re bloody good live.
3. Velandia y La Tigra
Blending complicated time-signatures, US-indie style guitar work and latin rhythms and horns, Velandia y La Tigra might be unlike anything you`ve heard before. Sometimes difficult (purposefully so), if you can tolerate their meandering moments you’ll find yourself greatly rewarded.
4. La 33
Modern Colombian salsa’s poster boys, these guys have reached dizzying heights compared to the other bands on this list, but deserve a mention thanks to their dedication to one of Colombia`s most beloved genres.
Pernett is an elusive character. His music is the kind of loopy, repetitive electronica you hear so much in Europe, but with Colombian rhythms drafted in to create a hypnotic, irresistible sound.