In Colombia, there are distinct Afro-Colombian cultures on both the Caribbean and Pacific Coasts. The Pacifico Afro-Colombian culture is even more obscure to outsiders and harder to access than that of the Caribbean Coast. Perhaps because of that, the Afro-Colombian culture there is quite strong.
African rhythms and call and response singing are combined to the achieve the earthy Pacifico music called currulao. The most distinctive aspect of this music is the sound of the marimba de chonta. The marimba originated in West Africa, and slaves brought to Colombia used local materials to create a similar instrument. The marimba de chonta is often incorporated into currulao fusion music which blends the traditional style with hip-hop, electronica, and other genres.
In addition to the distinct music of the Pacifico, salsa music thrives in Cali. Colombian hip hop is also prominent in this part of the country and the lyrics often comment on social justice issues in the region. Here’s a collection of songs that will get you into the unique spirit of the western side of Colombia: