5 modern artists who are the guardians of traditional Colombian music

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With talent and love for their land, a select group of artists work through thick and thin to preserve the life of traditional Colombian music.

Members of the Herencia de Timbiquí and San Miguelito groups

New artists with innovative sound proposals take over the main digital platforms to promote their albums, and incidentally, conquer unexplored audiences. Photos: YT-Heritage of Timbiquí, YT-San Miguelito

LatinAmerican Post | Carlo Mario Torres Nieves

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Leer en español: 5 artistas modernos que son los guardianes de la música tradicional colombiana

The world has evolved and the music industry also. New artists with innovative sound proposals take over the main digital platforms to promote their albums, and incidentally, conquer unexplored audiences.

In this context, an inordinate race between record companies and their singers began to reach the highest number of views on YouTube, topping lists on Spotify, and surpassing one million followers on Instagram . Actions that force performers to venture into musical genres that are not their favourite, only with the aim of staying the public, setting aside their roots and gradually burying the culture of their nation.

However, there is a small but very select group of artists who are swimming against the current to extend the life of traditional Colombian music . Some of them do so incorporating modern musical instruments, others resorting to lyrics that reflect recent social problems, and, in the best of cases, establishing collaborations with colleagues who enjoy a high level of popularity.

They are the guardians of Colombian folklore:


Toto la Momposina


Toto La Momposina is the most important exponent of Colombian cumbia ; a musical genre with indigenous and African influences, which is danced to the sound of drums, gaitas, maracas and lyrics recited with much histrionics. For Sonia Bazanta, better known as Toto La Momposina , it has not been an easy task to keep these ancestral sounds fresh in the collective memory of Latinos. However, she can be proud to have been the first woman to sing live for national television in the 1970s , when the picture was still black and white.

Many albums, tours and decorations came after such a feat, and today, at 80 years old, she continues to produce music, despite the situation due to the health emergency that has been affecting the world since 2020.


Herencia de Timbiquí


Herencia de Timbiquí is a group made up of friends who decided to pay the best of tributes to the Colombian Pacific culture through the interpretation of elements such as the chonto, the guasá, the bombo and the cununo. An art that they master to perfection, especially when they come together to unleash their creativity and produce lulling melodies that manage to transport their listeners to nostalgic sunsets near the Saija River, in the department of Cauca.

In their artistic journey , William, Vegner and their colleagues have ventured into the European market, played concerts in the United States and fell in love with much of the African continent. In addition, they are the owners of a Silver Seagull (Gaviota de PLata) awarded by the Viña del Mar Festival in 2013 , as the best folkloric performance for the song “Amanecé”.


San Miguelito


The brothers Fernando, Edwin and Efraín Albarracín are the talented minds behind San Miguelito , the first Colombian group to fuse indigenous sounds from the Cundiboyacense highlands with pop-rock. A musical inventiveness that has received the name of "Carranga Fussion", since in addition to the range of melodies to be mixed, this proposal opens an important space to include musical genres such as peasant merengue and bambuco.

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Adriana Lucia


Adriana Lucía is more than an artist, she is a cultural ambassador for her region . Her musical bet proposes a range of characteristic sounds from the entire Caribbean region, especially from the departments of Córdoba and Sucre.

Adriana is known for her style and unique voice to interpret the “Porro”, a lilting rhythm that takes place in the middle of a party orchestrated by wind and percussion instruments. Throughout her career, she has been tempted by genres such as rock, ballads, vallenato and even champeta. However, in Colombia it is known that her's is and will be the music that brightens the corralejas and animates the San Jacinto festivities .

It is worth mentioning that Adriana has been nominated multiple times for the Latin Grammys , she is the creator of the Cantar de los Cantares foundation, and in her recording history she has eight productions that exalt the best of her roots.


Los Niños del Vallenato


Los Niños del Vallenato are the first and largest group of young people united to preserve the culture that revolves around vallenato as a musical genre typical of Caribbean folklore .

Its founder, Turco Gil, an accordion legend in the Cesar department, has walked hand in hand with several generations of young performers since 1999. The same year that this seedbed was created. Los Niños del Vallenato have performed shows in Panama and United States , receiving outstanding mentions for the arduous work of adapting songs from the Vallenata culture to languages such as English, Wayuú and Arhuaco.