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But it has African, European, and local influences. The African origins of the music are heard at once in the drums that give cumbia its rhythm. South American culture adds the sound of the flute to the music. And European influences can be heard in its melodies and seen in the costumes worn by dancers. Although all three ethnic groups have helped to shape cumbia, the dance was created by African slaves. The Spaniards brought West Africans to Colombia’s Caribbean coast during their seventeenth century colonization of the area.

In traditional cumbia music, three different types of drums help make up the unique sounds. The deepest thuds come from a two-sided bass drum, known as the tambora. Drummers add backup rhythm with a mid-drum called the tambor alegre. And a calling drum—or llamador—provides the back-beat. Finally, these sounds are enhanced with maracas and guaches, which make rattling noises when shaken. Three different types of Colombian flutes, or gaitas, are also used to create the sound of cumbia music. The first, called the gaita macho, provides rhythm and harmony.

Discover Colombia! com/cumbia-the-rhythm-of-colombia/ Fall, Naomi. ” Dance Magazine, July 2013. Fulton, Ben. ” Salt Lake Tribune, January 6, 2012. Hambridge, Karen. ” Coventry Evening Telegraph, January 7, 2008. Kirsch, Michele. ” Times (London, UK), August 23, 2008. Merli, Melissa. ” News-Gazette (East Central Illinois), March 12, 2009. Mosley, Sydnie L. ” Dance Magazine, June 2011, Volume 85, Issue 6. The Notting Hill Carnival. indd 44 8/5/14 2:31 PM Further Reading Perry, Cynthia Bond. “Finding Their Own Rhythm: Atlantan Grows with African Dance Group.

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