Colombian Cumbia Essentials

Colombian Cumbia Essentials

Cumbia, the buoyantly syncopated sound that eventually infected all of Latin America, originated on Colombia's Atlantic coast. Two of its biggest stars, Lisandro Meza and Andrés Landero (known as the "King of Cumbia"), got their start playing vallenato, cumbia’s slightly more rustic accordion-based Caribbean-coast antecedent. Los Corraleros de Majagual, formed in 1962, exemplified the vallenato-cumbia overlap with a lineup consisting of two accordions added to a brass band. And the internationally successful La Sonora Dinamita took inspiration from Cuban rumba and simplified cumbia's rhythms, added an electric bass, and exported the sound to the rest of Latin America. During the late '60s, "Fruko" Rincón mixed cumbia and salsa in Fruko y Sus Tesos. He eventually hired teenaged Joe Arroyo to front the band a few years later, thereby launching the career of an extraordinary singer with a remarkable ability to fold a wide variety of Caribbean music into his distinctive blend.

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