From Academic Kids

Template:Genrebox Cumbia is a Colombian folk dance and dance music. Typical instrumental mix includes guitars, accordions, brass, and deep-toned drums and other percussion. The basic rhythm structure is 4/4.

Cumbia is the net intersection of three cultures that settled in Colombia at different times: indigenous peoples, Spanish/Moorish and African slaves. Some claim that Cumbia began as a courtship dance among the slave population. It has now spread to the "world music" community and is highly popular in the Latin music scene.

Cumbia is very popular in all of South America (except Brazil), and there are lots of different flavors of it. It can be compared to country music and dance orchestras; you either hate it, or love it. It is also the music that bus drivers all over South America play to keep awake.

In fact, it is mostly popular with the lower social classes and often scorned by the upper classes. In Argentina, this social divide is exemplified by the cumbia villera phenomenon. Villa miserias refer to the shanty towns where the most marginalized members of society live, and cumbia villera is their music. Taking the Colombian cumbia - traditionally sung by middle-aged crooners - young men (and occasionally women) have added lyrics that glamorize drugs and crime. In some ways comparable to US gangsta rap or Brazilian funk from the favelas (in attitude rather than musical style), these bands, with their waist-length hair, hooded tops and rap poses, do not shy away from controversy. Indeed with names such as Los Pibes Chorros (street slang for The Young Thieves) they positively court it. Catch it every Saturday on Argentine terrestrial TV channel America, where cumbia - mostly of the villera kind - takes over for the entire afternoon.

Cumbia is not only popular in South America, but all over Central America and Mexico. Mexican cumbia consists of several different rhythms in its own. It includes the Cumbia Norteña (consisting of drums, congas, accordion, bajo sexto, and bass guitar). This style of cumbia is especially popular in northern Mexico (hence, Cumbia "Norteña"). Mexican singer Rigo Tovar further popularized this music by adding elements of rock and roll and introducing electric guitars and synthesizers in the 1970's and 1980's.

However, there is another genre of cumbia that is not especially identified with the lower social classes. It is called "The 90's Cumbia" or "90's Glamorous cumbia", and emerged in Buenos Aires in the late 90's and the early 2000's. The themes explored in the lyrics of the songs are mostly romantic, the message is positive, and the attitude is glamorous and theatrical. The bands are dressed in Epoque suits of the 19th Century, and they wear jewelry, sometimes becoming close to an image that can be described like a Liberace style. The music, brilliant for nature and very identified with 80's and dance instruments, differs a lot from the other styles of cumbia, with synthezisers and keyboards as main instruments, electronic sounds and percussion, and a musical score very charged with harmonies of voices, icy sounds like brightness and pad-ens and trumpets (sometimes electronically emulated too). The most representative bands and singers of the 90's Glamorous Cumbia are Ráfaga (in first place), Potencia, La Rosa, Gilda, Antonio Ríos, Los Charros, Media Naranja, Gauchos Pesados (with the Vizia Brothers) and Amar Azul.

See also List of es:Cumbia fr:Cumbia nl:Cumbia fi:Cumbia


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