Cumbia Music and Gender Roles

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Colombia is a beautiful country, that is the home to forty-seven million people. The flag is made of three colors yellow, blue and red. The country’s capital is Bogota and the language is Spanish.

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Colombia was named after Christopher Columbus, as part of the New Granada colony. Colombia is a country that is located in the top part of South America. The land is made up of mostly forests, the Andes mountains, and many coffee plantations. Colombia is known for their coffee as well as being the place where the music and dance style, Cumbia, was created. While doing the research I found that cumbia music and dance styles are more male based.

Before I can start to explain the role, cumbia has in Colombia, I first need to discuss the history of the Colombia. According to Delia Zapata in her Introduction to the Folk Dances of Colombia Indian, African slaves and Spaniards were the three major influences that helped develop Colombian culture (Zapata 1967, 91). The Spanish conquerors brought some of their own dances such as contradanza. The Indians and the African slaves adopted some of the dances that the Spaniards brought but each group chose what went well with their own culture. The Colombian population racial background is made up of a mixture of African slaves, Spaniards, and Indian’s.

Cumbia’s music style is so popular that you can find it all over Latin America. This can be seen in Argentina as Pablo Vila and Pablo Sem?n stated Argentina have with the seemingly sexist and obscene lyrics of cumbia villera, which often portray women as ‘sluts’ (Vila and Seman 2011, 4). An example of the sexualized lyrics towards women would be the song Mi Cucu by La Sonora Dinamita. In the song his lyrics are …Que lindo es tu cucu Tan bello tu cucu Redondito y suavecito…Cuando te pones pantal?n Y te tocas por detr?s Se me suelta el corazon Y te quiero mas In this song cucu is a word to represent a woman’s butt and the male artist is talking about how the lady’s butt looks round, soft and just so nice in her jeans that he cannot control himself. Another song that shows sexizliztion towards women is Atrevete Te by Calle 13 one of the lyrics is Hello deja el show Sbete la minifalda hasta la espalda Subetela deja el show mas alta… This lyric basically means that he wants the girl to lift her mini skirt high up to her back so that she can give them a show.

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