A teaser of Colombian music, festivals and books


Colombia has a wealth of culture inspired by a multitude of influences affecting each of the regions differently. You’ll find a starter guide of music, books and other bits and bobs here to give you a teaser of what to be excited about when you land in-country:

(header image is by Stinkfish, a Colombian graffiti artist, who you'll see a lot of in Santa Marta)


  • Bomba Estereo – cool electro vibes e.g. Somos dos, To my love, Fiesta, Algo está cambiando
  • Choc Quib Town – pacific coast afrobeat e.g. Nuqui, Salsa & Choke
  • Systema Solar – Santa Marta area e.g Yo Voy Ganao, Eso Ke Es?
  • Carlos Vives – Ballenato pop e.g. Bicicleta, Volví a Nacer
  • Herencia de Timbiqui– pacific coast afrobeat e.g.  Te Invito, Amanece


There are loads more, some of which I have collated into a Colombia playlist on Spotify.

I was at the dress rehearsal for this video of Sistema Solar, featuring a bunch of friends at FEM Colombia, one of the foundations that I worked with with Impact Marathon Series! Came very close to getting involved...Kind of wish I had, but glad I didn't at the same time!


PETRONIO ALVAREZAugust – Pacific African music – Cali

GREEN MOON / LUNA VERDE September - Caribbean and reggae – Isla San Andres

ESTEREO PICNIC - March - International - Bogotá 

ESTEREO BEACHMarch – Electro – Costeño Beach, near Santa Marta

FIESTAS DEL MARJuly – Pop – Santa Marta

FESTIVAL DE FLORESAugust – Pop and other culture – Medellín

FESTIVAL JAGUAR - January - Dance - Palomino




The Making of Modern Colombia: A Nation in Spite of Itself by David Bushnell

Colombia: Fragmented Nation, Divided Society by Frank Safford

One River: Explorations and Discoveries in the Amazonian Rain Forest by Wade Davis

The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vasquez is a great novel expressing the voice of so many confused by what happened in Colombia. 

Gabriel Garcia Marquez – the Colombian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist, has written a great selection of books, a considerable amount based on his time in La Guajira. Beyond the world famous One Hundred Years of Solitude, these two books have been recommended:

El Relato del Náufrago / The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor by Gabriel García Márquez

La increíble y triste historia de la cándida Eréndira y su abuela desalmada by Gabriel García Márquez (downloadable pdf) - a beautiful shortish story of the plighted Eréndida and her grandmother. 



Colombia Calling – a great English-speaking weekly podcast that interviews people with an expertise linked to Colombia. Downloadable through smart phones podcasts.


Have I missed something brilliant?

Do message me with any suggestions for other aspects you love about Colombian culture that I can share through this post! 


For the full collection of notes I collected while exploring Colombia, head to Over to you: Tips for Travel in Colombia 

(Includes Santa Marta, Tayrona National Park, Ciudad Perdida (Lost City) Trek, Cartagena, Bogotá, Medellín, Cali, Isla Providencia, The Coffee Region, La Guajira and great Colombian music, books and festivals to aim for)

Hope you enjoy!! Please do share with anyone you think might find them useful.


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