Singer Shakira

Music in Colombia

The folk and popular music

Folk and popular music varies within the different regions. Along the Atlantic coast, the influence of Caribbean music is strong, in addition to Spanish styles, also English and French. There are also local African American traditions among descendants of escaped slaves. Along the Pacific coast, music that combines Spanish with African roots predominates. In the Andes, the meeting between Spanish and Native American culture has had its mark on the music. Native American tribes still maintain their own traditions. Llanos, the plain in the east, and the Amazon region in the south include folk music traditions with Spanish and Native American roots in various combinations. See also Native Americans (Music) and Latin America (Music).


Written sources, including at the Santa Fe Cathedral in Bogotá, from the colonial era, shows that the training of indigenous people in European church music began as early as the 16th century. The most prominent South American composer of the 16th century, Fernández Hidalgo, was chaplain at the Cathedral 1585–87 and composed a number of major works there. In the 19th century, a broader public music scene developed, which included opera and symphonic music, while at the same time weakening the church musical activity. The National Music Conservatory was established in 1910.

Singer Shakira

Singer Shakira is Colombia’s most famous artist internationally, who among other things was the official song for the World Cup in 2010. Shakira is also Goodwill Ambassador for the UN children’s organization UNICEF.

Following a national orientation among the composers, approx. 1900 followed a more eclectic trend. Later, Colombian composers, including Luis Antonio Escobar and Luis Antonio Athehortúa, used national elements in various modern styles. Today, the music scene includes professional symphony orchestras and chamber ensembles, choirs and wind orchestras, smaller conservatories and music schools.