Afro-Colombian music is highly influenced by beats and rhythms from Africa. This does not come as a surprise because Colombia has the largest population of people with African descent after USA and Brazil.
Slaves were brought to the country in large ships during the trans-Atlantic Slave trade.
Palenque de San Basilio is said to be the first free African Slave town in the Americas and music from here is highly influenced by African beats.
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It makes Palenque de San Basilio a musical hub that still has a deep connection with its African roots because the music from here grew from a community, who escaped slavery from the coastal plantations to establish this town in the 17th century.
The isolated town which is located at the northern region of Colombia saw them building a life of their own which also saw them keeping their very distinct creole dialect, Lengua Palenquera and their wonderful array of musical genres.
The airwaves in Palenque are filled with tunes from a sound system operator, whose shuffle includes Afro-punk, Congolese soukolous, reggae, champeta, folkloric hip-hop and then to more indigenous traditional drums and percussion, you name it.
Every town has their own music festival and Palenque’s happens to be the second weekend of October where the Drumming festival or Festival de Tambores and Ñeque y Tambó celebration take place.
The four-day music festival held at the central square is the hub for all Afro-Colombian music where local musicians exhibit their different genres of music. The music ranges from Terapia or champeta, lumbalú’s sounds (a funerary tradition with Central African cultural roots), rap Palenquero, reggae, electronic music and DJs.
Others party right infont of their homes drinking their local ‘sacred sugar cane liquor’ ñeke and jamming to the amazing afro-Colombian music.
Here are a few bands carrying the Afro-Colombian mantle in Palenque de San Basilio.