Welcome to Min-On’s Music Journey! Today, the Min-On Concert Association and the Embassy of the Republic of Colombia in Japan guide you to the Republic of Colombia, a country famous for coffee, emeralds and flowers.
The coexistence of indigenous, European and African peoples in Colombia has fostered a rich and unique culture present in people’s daily lives today. Music and rhythm are a particularly important part of daily life—the Colombian people have created over 1,000 unique rhythms and over 150 musical genres!
Dances in Cali, Colombia (photo courtesy of ProColombia)
We hope you’ll enjoy listening to songs from the List of 100 Colombian Songs that the Embassy of the Republic of Colombia has shared with Min-On as we continue our music journey.
List of 100 Colombian Songs
This list of 100 Colombian songs was launched by the Ministry of Culture in 2020 as part of the campaign #ColombiaCreaTalento (Colombia creates talent) which seeks to promote the talent of local artists and Colombian music. The list was created through recommendations by specialized journalists and music experts including Luisa Piñeros, Felipe Grajales, Juan José Peña and Diego Maldonado.
The list of 100 Colombian Songs is divided into four sub-lists.
To begin, please select one of the four Spotify playlists:
- Sounding Territories, which includes Colombia’s popular and traditional music
- Rock, Pop and Rap, which includes Colombia’s contemporary music
- New Colombian Music, which includes Colombia’s new and unique rhythms
- Dance Music, which includes some of the rhythms to which Colombians dance
Multi-faceted, vibrant Colombia
Colombia is located in northern South America. The country features a rich and beautiful variety of terrain, nature and climates, including the Andes Mountains, with high elevation and cool temperatures year-round, the tropical climate of the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, and the Amazon Basin and the plains in the eastern Orinoco River Basin.
San Andrés (left) and the Amazonas (right) (photos courtesy of ProColombia)
Santa Marta (left) and Cartagena de Indias (right) (photos courtesy of ProColombia)
San Antonio, Cali (left) and Museum of Modern Art “La Tertulia,” Cali (right) (photos courtesy of ProColombia)
Bogotá and Medellín, major cities of the Andean Region
The capital of Colombia, Bogotá, lies at an elevation of 2,640 meters in an Andes Mountain valley and is one of South America’s biggest cities, with a population of over seven million people. The historic center has many tourist destinations that give visitors a glimpse into the city’s long history and culture, including the flagstone-paved Plaza de Bolívar, the Gold Museum and the Museo Botero. The bustling new section of the city is lined with skyscrapers, shops of popular international brands, restaurants and recreational facilities. Visitors can savor local traditional dishes like ajiaco and aromática (fruit tea) in the capital.
Bogota skyline (photo courtesy of ProColombia)
Colombia’s second largest city, Medellín, is known as “the city of eternal spring” for its year-round pleasant weather. Every August, Medellín hosts the “Flower Festival,” one of Colombia’s largest. It’s a spectacular annual event, including parades of people carrying flowers and concerts featuring famous musicians from Colombia and abroad.
Flower festival in Medellin (left) and “Silletero” in Guatapé, Antioquia, Colombia (right) (photos courtesy of ProColombia)
Cartagena and Santa Marta, resort cities on the Caribbean coast
Cartagena is Colombia’s top resort destination on the shore of the Caribbean Sea, drawing visitors from all over the world, including Japan. In the Old Town of Cartagena, visitors can see fortresses and other structures from the Spanish colonial period. UNESCO registered the “Port, Fortresses and Group of Monuments, Cartagena” as a World Heritage Site in 1984.
Cartagena cityscape (photos courtesy of ProColombia)
Palenqueras” from the small village of “Palenque” located near Cartagena (photo courtesy of ProColombia)
Another great city to visit is coastal Santa Marta, which features breathtaking scenery, including lush greenery, blue seas and golden sun, highlighted by striking contrast between beaches and the white-capped Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range. Local cuisine here is prepared with emphasis on the bounty of the Caribbean Sea. The historic city center features Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino, famous as the final home of Simón Bolívar, leader of the Latin American independence movement. The building has been renovated into a museum honoring him as a national hero.
Tayrona National Natural Park (photo courtesy of Charly Boillot)
Beautiful island scenery
In the Insular region of Colombia, visitors can find San Andres Island, surrounded by the beautiful Caribbean Sea and coral reefs, often collectively referred to as the “Seven-colored Sea”. Here you can find “Seaflower” designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2000. The Island has won the World Travel Awards, an internationally prestigious travel award, in 2014, 2015 and 2019, as the best destination to enjoy coral reefs and beaches.
The beautiful scenery of San Andres
Magnificent natural environment and rhythms of the Pacific Coast
The beaches of the Colombian Pacific are recognized worldwide, and they have almost completely intact marine ecosystems. One of the main attractions here is whale watching from August to October, when hundreds of the gigantic ocean mammals visit the shores of the Chocó region.
The rhythm and charm of the Colombian Pacific is represented throughout its culture. Thanks to the Afro heritage that the people here have inherited, this region is characterized as one of the happiest in Colombia. Festivals are very popular here, including San Pacho and the Petronio Álvarez festival, the Cali Fair and the World Salsa Festival.
Whale watching by the shores of the Chocó region Cali hosts the World Salsa Festival
(photos courtesy of ProColombia)
Gorgeous scenery of the eastern plains
The eastern plains region presents beautiful sunsets and many different native animal species. Visitors can view Caño Cristales, the so-called rainbow river or “river of five colors” that winds through the jungle. The Serrania Chiribiquete table-top mountains, with steep vertical walls soaring high in the middle of the jungle, are home to over fifty picturesque sites with no less than 70,000 drawings of great archaeological value created over 20,000 years ago.
The rich natural environment of the Amazon Basin, the largest in the world
The breathtakingly rich natural environment of this area contains 185 protected areas with well-preserved history and traditions. The warm-climate region is thick with flora, and it provides a habitat for 212 species of mammals, 195 species of reptiles and many birds. If you’re lucky, you may see the rare pink dolphins of the Amazon River. Many tribes of indigenous peoples live here, and visitors can enjoy cuisine from each region, including mojojoy (a dish made from insects) and farinha (yuca flour).
Colombia’s music in Japan with Min-On
Since hosting the Ballet Folklórico Nacional de Colombia in 1988, Min-On has hosted performances by artists from Colombia including Leonor Gonzalez Mina (1990) and the Barranquilla Folklore Dance Troupe (1999).
Ballet Folklórico Nacional de Colombia (1988)
Leonor Gonzalez Mina (1990) and the Barranquilla Folklore Dance Troupe (1999)
As the last stop on our journey in Colombia, please enjoy these two songs from the 2018 concert of La Jagua at Min-On.
La Jagua won the competition at the 2015 Petronio Alvarez Music Festival, the largest music festival in southern Colombia. They are currently building a name for themselves in Colombia and abroad.
- Cali Pachanguero
Cali Pachanguero is famous for its spirited salsa rhythms, and is known as the salsa capital of the world. This piece is emblematic of Colombian salsa!
- Con Toda el Alma (With All My Heart)
This is La Jagua’s signature song—a romantic number meant to be dedicated to someone you love.
What did you think of your music journey to Colombia? We hope you enjoy listening to many different genres on the List of 100 Colombian Songs!
San Andres, Providencia y Santa Catalina, Colombia (photo courtesy of Sebastian Sanint – www.ssanint.com)
There are still many more places to go! Please look forward to our next destination.
Min-On Concert Association
－Music Binds Our Hearts－
(Produced in collaboration with the Embassy of the Republic of Colombia in Japan)