WATCH: A Love Letter to Cumbia, the Humble Musical Genre That Unites All Latinos


By José M. Simián, Marcelo Baez

June 10, 2020

Video by Marcelo Báez / Script by José Simián

While reggaetón is rocking the world, the humble-yet-irresistible cumbia rhythm stays strong as the O.G. Afro-Latin party genre. But why?

Everyone talks about reggaetón these days as the Latin genre that took over the world, and most old-timers would still probably swear that salsa is the legit thing. But there —almost secretly as we write this— lies cumbia, that humble, charming, old school genre that actually has reigned supreme all over the Americas for about 80 years.

The origins of cumbia are still a matter of debate, but there’s no doubt about it coming out of Colombia around the 1940s and spreading all over the Americas. The interesting thing about it? That many countries embraced it almost as its own—as if they had created it, giving it a twist of its own flavor in turn.

So that’s what we wanted to explore in this video: Why is cumbia like a mutating, contagious musical virus?

WATCH: Cumbia, the Musical Virus.

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