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What Instruments Are Played in Cumbia Music?

t cumbia image by Sergio Hayashi from Fotolia.com

Cumbia music has evolved to be a jewel of Colombian culture. Cumbia music is a traditional Colombian dance and folk music that is popular in many Latin and South American countries.


Cumbia music is influenced by African, Spanish and Native American culture and music. Cumbia music gets its name from the cumbe dance it was named after. The cumbe dance is originally from Guinea. In Colombia, the cumbe dance became know as a celebration dance for the marriages between Africans and the native people of Columbia.


Traditional cumbia music instruments include drums, flutes and other wind instruments, guitars, ouds, and percussion instruments, like the maracas. Cumbia music has continued to develop over time, adding new instruments such as caja drums, trumpets, synthesizers, clarinets, saxophones and trombones.


Two different types of cumbia music are well known today: conjunto de cumbia and conjunto de gait. Conjunto de cumbia contains drums and percussion instruments. Conjunto de gait contains the same percussion instruments and the traditional wood flutes called "gaitas."


Cumbia music varies greatly among Latin American cultures. In fact, the cumbia music played in Mexico today is nothing like the original cumbia music of Colombia.

Fun Fact

"La Pollera Colora" and "La Cumbia Cienaguera" are two popular cumbia anthems in Colombia.

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