Vallenato Music is Classic Colombian

Vallenato Music is Classic Colombian

Spend some time in Colombia and you’re sure to hear the distinctive sound of an accordion. It’s is the loudest and most distinctive of the three traditional components of Vallenato music.

Vallenato began as communication in the area of Valledupar. Travelers through Colombian towns, building on cultural traditions from both Europe and Africa, used music to convey messages from one place to another. Over time, this practical tradition became recognized as the wonderful art form it also was.

 Today you can hear vallenato on street corners and in concert halls, by amateurs and orchestras. Great composers like Rafael Escalona helped elevate the genre, while Grammy-winning Carlos Vives has introduced it to an increasingly worldwide audience. Festivals like Festival de la Leyenda Vallenata (each April in Valledupar, featuring the best of Colombian and international Vallenato musicians) and Cradle of Accordians (a similar concept, each September in Villanueva) are magnificent. Another important festival is the Festival Francisco el Hombre hosted in Riohacha each March, only one and a half hours away from our Palomino hostel.

However you hear it, a trip to Colombia is simply incomplete without Vallenato music. If you enjoy drinking, a classic companion is Old Parr, a blended scotch whisky that you'll see locals selflessly sharing "tragos" and shots with each other. And here's one final fun fact: Along with another classic Colombian style of music named cumbia, Vallenato was marked as an Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safegurding by the UNESCO World Heritage Foundation. Be on the lookout during the next Latin Grammy Awards for the next winners.