I admit it — before I lost my job a few years ago in the bad economy and bought a one-way ticket to South America, there were only 2 things I knew about Colombian music: Shakira and salsa music. After backpacking for 5 months through the continent, ending in Colombia, I so fell in love with the country and the people that I returned a second time the same year. I not only came away with an appreciation for a beautiful country which has gotten an undeserved bad rap because of its history of civil war and drug violence, I also made wonderful new friends for life.
Colombia today is flourishing and it’s a land of great beauty, history, culture, fashion, art, music, dance and creativity and we are influenced by Colombia here. For example, CicLAvia, the quaterly event to reclaim LA’s streets from car traffic so people can enjoy the urban landscape on foot and bicycles, was started in Bogota.
Colombianos are at the top of my list of the most warm, generous and friendly people I’ve ever met in my life. I traveled using the CouchSurfing online travel network and met and stayed with so many wonderful local people, who showed me a genuine experience of Colombia, not a touristy one. One in particular, Carol, is a graphic designer who works for the city government in Medellin. If you travel there, the beautiful map of its brilliant metro system is her handiwork. I met Carol through the and she took time out to take me on many tours of the ‘Eternal City of Spring’. After I returned to the US, being fellow music lovers, we’ve kept in touch on Facebook by sharing new music discoveries with each other and thanks to her, I’ve been so enriched with the diversity of Colombian music! Continue reading