As you walk through the streets of Cartagena, you may hear the unique sounds of champeta.

 

As you walk through the streets of Cartagena, you may hear the unique sounds of champeta. This musical and dance style started on Colombia’s northern coast including not only Cartagena but also Barranquilla and San Basilio de Palenque.  It is closely linked with the Afro-Colombian communities that call northern Colombia home.

 

Cuando la champeta no era para los ricos - Las2orillas

 

The original word champeta actually referred to a short curved knife that was used for housework and for defense. In the 1920s, it started being used as a derogatory term for the low-income Afro-Caribbeans who lived in the area.  Champeta emerged as a musical movement in the 1970s when Colombian musicians combined the sounds of African beats, Haitian meringue, and indigenous influences.   The songs are usually sung in Spanish and accompanied by percussion instruments, electric guitars, bass, and conga drums.

 

 

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Chocó to Dance | Dasigno

 

The result was a unique blend of sounds and an accompanying dance that epitomize Afro-Colombian culture. Interestingly, it was originally called “terapia” (or therapy) because of the happiness it brought to the hard-working Afro-Colombian population.  It is easy to understand why. The music is catchy and easy to dance to and you can hear it in bars, clubs, and Zumba classes all around the world. It is hard to resist shaking your groove thing when the infectious dance beats fill the air.  It continues to grow in popularity every year and the world-famous Colombian singer Shakira even borrowed some of the dance moves for the 2020 Super Bowl Halftime Show.

 

With its vibrant nightlife scene, Cartagena is the best place in the world to experience champeta.  The Bazurto Social Club is a bit of an institution and even offers dance lessons a few nights a week for people who want to learn the signature moves that go along with the music.

 

If you want to listen to champeta and practice your dance moves before your trip to Colombia, some of the most famous champeta artists are:

Charles King, Mr Black, Kevin flores, Abelardo Carbon, Wganda Kenya, and Tribu Baharú.  If you have Spotify, you can check out the music by Criss & Ronny, El Afinatio, and Oscar Prince.

 

Our Concierge Dream Team will be happy to plan a Dream Experience of your preference for you and your group.

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