Foreigner goes to Barranquilla, falls in love with a beautiful woman on the dance floor, she disappears, and now he’s looking for her all over Colombia to marry her.
There’s a funny version of this song by Don Medardo y sus Player’s where she whispers in his ear: “you ecuadorians have some game in your hips!” I have to wonder, are you in on the joke, Medardo? I have nothing but love for you guys, but I have to break it to you: a barranquillera who says that is messing with you.
Few things are more univesal than the revered tradition of people talking smack about each other over some beats. It’s pretty special when it’s two grandmas (and cousins) who have devoted their whole lives to it.
In the next few days, I am probably going to bombard you with music from the Carnaval de Barranquilla, which some Colombians claim is the second largest in the world, “despues de Rio de Janeiro, claro”. (Mind you, some Colombians also claim to have the second most beautiful national anthem, “despues de la Marsellesa, claro”.)
Roots first. Here is La Cumbia Soledeña a *classic* cumbia groups from Soledad, now a suburb of Barranquilla. How classic? This group started in 1877 and their sound, which (as you can hear) they keep as “pure” and “authentic” as possible, has been mostly passed down the family line.
Cumbia A Dos Flautas “Los Yolofos” by Cumbia Soledeña
I *love* their sound, but I’m not sure how I feel about the obsession with staying purebred – especially in such a hybrid music.
La Cumbia Moderna de Soledad, on the other hand, is not ashamed of their taste for the exotic. Their Fela Kuti cover Shacalao is pretty hot, but this is my favorite: the second best cover of Rod Stewart’s banger “Do you think I’m sexy“.