Music that Moved Me in Colombia
Updated: Dec 29, 2018
Written by Chris Furino
At the beginning of August, I set out on a week and a half trip to Colombia with a friend, relatively unplanned. Both of us love to travel and wanted to experience a culture we had not before. Through my work at Hope CommUnity Center, I have had the opportunity to meet so many incredible people who have immigrated to the United States. Many dear Colombian friends and co-workers had shared with me the beauty of their country. That paired with a dream I had about visiting Colombia at the beginning of the year was the stimulus for this trip.
We knew to which cities we would go and what things we had wanted to do, but that was about the extent of the preparation. Both of us have a deep appreciation for music and we had different tunes playing throughout the entire trip. The following songs capture the experience the trip provided for me: the things I saw and did, the beauty I witnessed, the feelings I felt, and the thoughts I had.
Amárrame – Mon Laferte y Juanes
We started our trip spending several days in Bogotá. The neighborhood we were in, La Candelaria, is near the capital and had some of the most beautiful architecture I have ever seen. We walked small cobblestone streets admiring the street art and beautiful facades. The beauty of Bogotá almost felt surreal. We spent as much time as we could walking just so we could take in all the city had to offer. While we did some touristy things here, ultimately, we just wanted to explore Colombia’s capital.
As my plane touched down in Bogotá this song came on, as if calling me to become enchanted with this beautiful city. I continued listening to it as I explored the city, becoming ever more enamored. The songs rock, bolero, and cumbia mix for me represented the melting pot of cultures that Bogota embodies: bringing together Colombia’s overall lack of homogeneity and the cultures of people from all over Latin America and the world.
“Cúrame, y enférmame de poco a poco a poco. Cúrame, y transfórmame en un loco poco a poco. Amárrame.”
Eclipse – Natalia LaFourcade
We spent part of our trip staying on a coffee farm (finca) outside of Pereira. The Triángulo del Café is a region in Colombia that produces the majority of Colombia’s coffee export. The climate of this region is perfect for growing coffee because it does not get too hot and has a rather high elevation. During our time on the farm, we learned about how coffee is planted, grown, harvested, and prepared. We also drank some of the best coffee I ever have had in my life. The entire experience was beautiful and tranquil.
One evening, I found myself laying in a hammock under the stars. During the daylight, the view of the valley from the farm was astounding. At night, the world felt so expansive and beautiful and I felt peace. I was playing some songs and Eclipse by Natalia LaFourcade came on. The song is heavy and sad, about the loss of a love; however, there is also a softness and beauty in the despair. I know for the rest of my life, whenever I hear this song I will be transported back to that hammock on the finca.
“Eclipse de luna en el cielo, ausencia de luz en el mar. Tan sola con mi desconsuelo, mirando la noche me puse a llorar.”
I Like It – Cardi B, Bad Bunny, y J Balvin
Cartagena was unlike any place I had been before. We arrived 11:30 PM after a day of traveling and the city was like, “nah ya’ll are turning up now.” Friends advised we stay in the Walled City and we were not disappointed with this recommendation. We traveled by bus (which was actually a van with 15 very tiny seats in it) to Playa Blanca en Isla Barú for the day with families and couples from all over the world. Our time exploring Cartagena was equally as exciting and we ended up getting matching tattoos of little coffee mugs to celebrate our experience.
I Like It represents the turn up of Cartagena. Overlooking the unnecessary lyrics of Bad Bunny listing the types of women he likes, I cannot help but bop around when I listen to this song. With Cardi B, Bad Bunny, and J Balvin we get a great mix of rap and reggaetón that carried me kept me turned up through Cartagena.
“Soy el que se la vive y también el que la goza. Es la cosa, mami es la cosa, el que mira sufre y el que toca goza.”
La Tortura – Shakira y Alejandro Sanz
I had to throw it back a bit during the trip and jam out to La Tortura a bit too. My song choice albeit somewhat cliché felt appropriate as Shakira and Alejandro Sanz are two of Colombia’s most successful music artists of our generation. Not only does this song transport me to my childhood, but it will also be forever a memory of my time in such a unique country. I listened to this piece all over, as a turn up song and a chill song. As I was leaving Colombia, I felt like I was leaving someone I got to know so dearly so quickly and while my departure was nowhere near as dramatic as the lyrics of this song imply, it was difficult to go.
“Ay amor me duele tanto, me duele tanto, que no creas más en mis promesas. Ay amor es una tortura perderte.”
Latinoamérica – Calle 13
I could not help but think of the lyrics of this song throughout my experience. As an American traveling in Latin America and knowing about our country’s history of pillaging from these lands, this song weighed heavily on me throughout my experience. I saw the beauty and resilience in a place violated by US political interference and rampant global capitalism. The lyrics of the chorus particularly resonated with me throughout my time in Colombia.
“Tú no puedes comprar al viento, tú no puedes comprar al sol, tú no puedes comprar la lluvia, tú no puedes comprar el calor, tú no puedes comprar las nubes, tú no puedes comprar los colores, tú no puedes comprar mi alegría, tú no puedes comprar mis dolores.”
I feel honored to have had this experience; an experience we intentionally ensured was not touristy. We felt an immersion into the culture and saw the natural beauty of this tierra. We experienced three very different parts of this beautiful country and experienced kindness, hospitality, good food, and an overall beautiful culture. I hope to return soon. Te quiero Colombia y te veo pronto.
Chris Furino loves music… like a lot. According to Spotify they listened to 82,000 hours of music last year! Their queer identity, love for the revolution, and overall angsty attitude (they are a very proud Cancer) have led to an eclectic taste in music ranging from indie bands to country queens, and pop divas to Latin Trap stars. They’re excited to take you on a journey about the music moves them!