I had never taken conscious notice of cumbia before going to Argentina (even though cumbia is originally from Colombia), kind of like how I had never liked merengue before going to the Dominican Republic. I wrote it off as "regional" music that I would never find an interest in. I have a few songs by the Colombian singer Fanny Lu on my iPod, which my zumba instructor calls "a soft cumbia," but after being exposed to it a little more, I'm not certain if that's a valid description. Anyway, the first time I saw cumbia performed was at a party in Argentina, when five people got up on the ledge of the swimming pool, formed a line, and danced to this incredibly rhythmic music, with lots of smiles and hip-shaking. Who said the country was only known for its tango?
Cumbia is experiencing a renewal in popularity, influenced by electric and synthesized beats and catchy lyrics. Bands such as Palenke Soultribe, Bomba Estereo, and El Hijo de la Cumbia make it a pleasant, happy listen, that makes you want to get up and dance. From my experience? Perfect for getting out of bed in the morning.