Why Shakira loves this African beat


If you go to a Shakira concert, you may see
her do this. It’s this part of her show where the drummer
starts soloing and she’s kind of freestyle dancing. And during this section, she’s dancing to
a variation of the exact same beat. In its most basic form, it sounds like this. “Cumbia de Colombia!” Did you catch that? “Cumbia de Colombia”. The music is called cumbia. You can even hear it in electronic dance tracks. And it has its own category in the Latin Grammys. And it all started here, up near the Caribbean
coast of Colombia. I traveled to the villages where cumbia comes
from. And I learned that this specific place, here
along the Magdalena River, was fertile soil from which this music could grow. But cumbia is in fact a blend of several strong
musical traditions. Mainly African and indigenous, but also European,
mixing together to make something new. Something totally unique to the time and place
from which it came. Okay now just watch what these two drummers
are playing. We can also look at this another way. This beat is the backbone of cumbia. And I wanted to find out where it came from,
so I flew to the beautiful Caribbean city of Cartagena and drove south to a village
that was founded hundreds of years ago. In the early 1500s, the Spanish came to Colombia
as part of their Latin American conquest. And with them they brought more than 100,00
captive Africans. But some of these slaves managed to escape
and build their own communities. And that’s how this village was formed. This place is the first known settlement of
slaves who rebelled and started their own community back in the 17th century. And so because of that, they were able to
maintain a great deal of their African culture. The residents of this village preserve their
history with music, which is based on the rhythms their ancestors brought over from
the homeland. These songs are a living, breathing part of
the town’s culture and history. And with time, these beats started to spread
in the region, influencing different styles of music. Does this sound familiar? This is the beating heart of cumbia and no
matter how many instruments are incorporated, or in what country it’s played, the beat always
stays the same. The drumbeat brought over from Africa is the
main ingredient of cumbia, but eventually the rhythm started blending with instruments
from a totally different musical culture: that of the indigenous people of Colombia. I came to visit the Gaiteros de San Jacinto,
a musical group that has been playing cumbia since the 1950’s. In 2007 they won a Latin Grammy for their
folk album and they’re able to continue by training up new generations, who keep these
old traditions alive. We’re in the backyard of one of the drummers, who’s showing me how they make their own instruments using the same methods their ancestors did,
like these maracas. And this flute, called the Gaita, which is
a quintessential indigenous instrument. So this is what the cultural fusion of the
root of cumbia looks like: you have the Gaita, a key element in indigenous music, and then
you have the drum section playing rhythms directly influenced by the African village
just an hour from here. Together they create this unique cumbia sound. In addition to the African rhythm and the
indigenous wind instruments, there’s one more ingredient to this fusion: the European influence. The cumbia is always evolving and there’s one more European influence that is more recent. It’s this instrument that Yeison is holding:
the accordion. And in fact, it was his grandfather, dubbed
the “King of cumbia,” who traded his Gaita flute for an accordion, thus changing cumbia
forever. But once formed in this region, it didn’t
stay put. In the past century, cumbia has spread throughout
all of Latin America, further evolving in the process. While I was in Colombia, I shot an extra bonus episode for our friends over at Eater. It’s about this amazing fruit market in Bogota
that I visited and it was really fun. I think you’ll love it. It’s gonna be published on Eater’s YouTube
channel, so head over there to subscribe and I hope you like the episode.

100 thoughts on “Why Shakira loves this African beat

  1. Want to see the behind-the-scenes content from Vox Borders? We're releasing exclusive footage from Johnny and all our other creators in the Video Lab: https://www.vox.com/join.

  2. awfully over-edited. I could have done with half the amount of cuts per minute. Your subject isn't boring, why do you feel the need to assault us with constant attention seeking edits?

  3. Who else was moving their feet, hand, or head to the beat. Such a beautiful rhythm and so recognizable. The music runs in our families and at parties and this video was really special to me. I love my culture and the music is a big part of it. Thank you for making this well done video. My dad was actually the one who showed me this video and it was a very special moment for the both of us.

  4. All these instruments are of West African origin not Native American, from the Maracas, drums, flutes etc.. Cumbia is a pure African musical style sang in spanish.

  5. Your title is very misleading cumbia has morphed into a very important cultural piece of Latin America. For you to simply brush aside millions of people across 2 continents is demeaning and ignorant. Cumbia is a Latin American thing, Cumbia is not played in Africa, Europe, or Asia, so for you to say Shakira is in love with an African beat is ignorant.

  6. Excellent video! Did you know that dancing Cumbia by dragging the feet supposedly comes from the slaves being still in shackles? And check this song: "Yo me llamo Cumbia" by Mario Gareña, sung by Leonor Gonzalez – It´s the quintessential cumbia.

  7. Don't matter where Africans go, always take from Africans. Funny how all popular music styles take from African, yet jews profit from the culture. whatever i guess

  8. FWIW, the gaita mentioned is specifically the Colombian gaita. In the Spain the word refers to bagpipes similar to those used in Scotland and Ireland played in the north west of the country.

  9. This show and ear worn are the only redeemable parts of Vox/Verge. Sorry to block you. Hope you and the decent people working there move to a decent company.

  10. The flute actually sounds exactly like the flute used during traditional events in all of south eastern part of NIGERIA

  11. Aka like north America, South america music and culture is basically african diapora culture appropriated by whites. The maracas, flutes and singing arent "native" or "european" but african aswell. The instrument combo is standard for any african cultural group. How surprising. Even what is clearly african they attempt to deafricanize and include others to avoid what is obvious. Exploitation and obsession of african culture🙄. How sway.

  12. When I was young I lived in Colombia for a couple of years. I remember hearing the cumbia on the radio. I learned a lot from this video, thanks! You never get too old to learn!

  13. Glad to see they say it has African influences because my experience is Latinos will turn away from any implication of African anything. ( Not all just most). I did a DNA test ( I was born in USA of Jamaican parents) and typed in different countries throughout the Americas and ancestry.com has matched with me with most. I have Mexican cousins, Brazilian cousins and I can see the far reach of the slave trade. Be careful who you hate, they might be a distant cousin.

  14. If music from different places can blend together and make a great new sound, does it show that people can live together and get along well, too? So why are there conflicts?

  15. So, who do we hate for creating these awful sounds? Some goddam South American who was eating ice cream and said, "is that mustard?! Lemme put that on ice cream!"

  16. When the drummer was beating the drum and repeating the word “Africa” tears welled up in my eyes , the way he was saying it reminded me of Malian music, and I thought of the terrible transAtlantic journey. Black people, I love you , I love my people. I always say African people and Palestinians are the most resilient and beautiful people. I love you my people. You are mothers of humanity , the first on this planet and we will be the last on this planet, keep being resilient, no matter what misfortune they do to us, they can never defeat our spirit. I love you black people everywhere.

  17. i have used cumbia rhythmt without knowing it ….. "samanta – e jota" is the song and i am from europe so this true what he is talking about

  18. I love that other people get to know our beatiful and rich culture outside guns cocaine and pablo escobar btw. i love how this series shows the beautiful side of colombia

  19. Shakira dances mixing dabke and cumbia. Sharira is of lebanese origin, that is why she dances dabke so well.

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