The Cumbia Diaspora: From Colombia to the World

Move over salsa and merengue–cumbia is the most popular music in Latin America. Today, cumbia is played from the borderlands of Texas down the spine of the Andes to the tip of Tierra del Fuego. In this Hip Deep edition, we find out how cumbia left Colombia in the ‘60s and ‘70s and traveled to other countries. Everywhere it went, it transformed itself, adapting to its new environment. In Peru, it mixed with psychedelic guitar effects and Andean sounds to become chicha. In Argentina, it became the expression of a new generation of restless youth in the burgeoning slums of Buenos Aires. And in Mexico, it became so instilled in the local culture that some have forgotten that it came from Colombia in the first place. Through extensive interviews with experts and musicians, we discover how cumbia and its many transformations tell us the story of Latin America in the late 20th century. [Produced by Marlon Bishop. Originally aired Jan. 3, 2011]