Then there’s Vallento (“from the valley”), which also wears its Spanish and West African influences, but hails from Colombia’s northern coast. Encanto’s opening-song The Family Madrigal is a radio-friendly example of a Vallenato tune, with Colombian folk instruments such as accordion, caja vallenata and guacharaca working in joyous harmony. (If you’re looking for a less Disney-fied, but still modern, example of Vallenato, check out Carlos Vives on Spotify).
Let’s head to Colombia’s East Coast, where you’ll find Joropo, which tells stories of the gorgeous rural lands of the LLano region in a fast-paced musical style that resembles a waltz, with harps, cuatros and bandolas. From the Pacific Coast, Currulao is a genre with strong African roots and wild percussive instrumentation, from bamboo xylophones to thumping bass drums. The Andean Highlands? Bambuco, a fusion of Spanish and Indigenous styles with tambourines, flutes and a tiny 12-string guitar called a tiple.
You get the idea. No matter where you head to in Colombia, you’ll find a dazzling medley of Indigenous, European and African music, played with rhythmic beauty on an array of awesome instruments you don’t get to hear every day. So, sure. It may have taken a slightly saccharine Disney soundtrack for global charts to pay notice. But now the entire world is waking up to the many rhythms of Colombia. And we think it’s about time.