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Latin America: Colombia (Cumbia)
Hi all,

This week in the All Around This World weekly online class we explore Colombia, meeting the nation's favorite dance -- "cumbia." 

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This Week We Visit Colombia

This week All Around This World dives headfirst into a sing-along, dance-along exploration of Colombia for kids. Colombia is a wonderfully complex, ethnically, culturally and geographically diverse country with a violent recent past.  Years of internal armed conflict have kept tourists away from Colombia, but over the last few years crime and civil strife have become less dominant and more outsiders are discovering the Colombia others have always known.  (All Around This World's main Colombia page. )

In class we'll dance....

Colombia's most beloved form of music and dance is "cumbia," which began as an African courtship dance and developed into an international Afro-Latin phenomenon. (more)

In class we'll be singing: 

We sing "We Are Happy," a hello song from Uganda, to open every All Around This World class. This week we greet each other in Wayuunaiki, language of Colombia's Wayuu people. 

Mayan culture is so ancient that most Mayan music has been lost, but contemporary interpretations of potentially ancient melodies like the one used in this Mayan folk song still exist....  (more )  

"A Canoa" is a Brazilian children’s song about a canoe that flips over because the child we’ve chosen to lead our expedition doesn’t know how to paddle. Life lesson: do not allow a toddler to be your captain.... (more )     

"Cachumbambe" is a Cuban kids song about a cachumbambe, a seesaw. In the original Cuban version Old Lady Ines is a hard-living, cigar-smoking grandma....  (more )

"Wan Boto" is a Caribbean drumming song, originally from Suriname, which is a small country on the Caribbean coast of South America. This is a song fisherman may sing to greet an incoming boat. (“One boat is coming with just one flag . . . .)”  (more )

A Little More

Champeta –also known as “Creole Therapy”–is an highly danceable genre of Afro-Colombian music that finds its inspiration in the historical struggle between the Afro-Colombian population and Colombia’s European-descended upper classes. In the 1960s and ’70s Colombians facing poverty in and around the city of Cartagena blended African rhythms with Caribbean dance music and played this music–LOUDLY!–in public dance parties. These parties, which also came to be known as picós, served as an emotional release for struggling Colombians, The ruling class of Cartegena initially attempted to ban picós but Colombia’s youth continue to embrace the genre as a form of class-conscious artistic expression.    

Watch this video from champeta star Luis Towers: