ChocQuibTown

ChocQuibTown, yes quite hard to spell!The world may not quite know it yet, but there’s far more to Colombian music than just Juanes and Shakira. Slowly but surely, as with perceptions of Colombia in general, the music here is gaining a firm reputation as some of the most exciting to come out of Latin America.

One band that has done wonders for this shift is ChocQuibTown
, an alternative hip-hop outfit hailing from Chocó.

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Chocó is a remote part of the Pacific region of Colombia, typified by jungles and tropical rainstorms that often leave it isolated from the rest of the country. Important for ChocQuibTown’s music is that this region is heavily afro-Colombian, and this influence can be felt strongly in their music through the pounding afro-rhythms, the bursts of marimba and lyrics that are characterized by their strong identification with their heritage (see hit songs ‘De Donde Vengo Yo’ and ‘Somos Pacificos’ for evidence).

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On top of these distinctive sounds are rapid-fire vocals, where the influence of hip-hop from the US is most strongly felt, particularly resonant is the sound of influential 90s hip-hop act The Fugees. ChocQuibTown’s lyrics, as well as being about their own history, concern topics as diverse as merely dancing and having a good time, and political anxieties both internationally and in Colombia.

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ChocQuibTown may not be a household name just yet,
but with a Latin Grammy Award for Best Alternative Song (‘De Donde Vengo Yo’) under their belt, a slew of shows with major US stars (including neo-soul crooner Maxwell), and recordings with French act Oxmo Puccino, it’s sure not to be long before the band achieve the kind of recognition they enjoy in Colombia throughout the rest of the world.

=> ChocQuibTown’s debut US album is called Oro and is out now.

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