Argentinian DNA: Music of the Downtrodden . Seeking comfort in Cumbian rhythms

Cumbia is huge in Latin America. This musical genre is based on a simple drum beat brought by African slaves, blended with local rhythms. The indigenous sounds of maracas and flutes fuse with Spanish singing, guitar, and accordion to create cumbia’s unique sound, along with its distinctive beat.

Cumbia is the music of choice for millions in Argentina, where its upbeat motifs and straightforward lyrics blare from cars, homes, stores, and streets. It’s especially popular with poorer people.

Cumbia singer La Mona Jimenez
La Mona Jimenez is one of Argentina’s biggest cumbia stars.

RT’s Francisco Guaita gets a taste of cumbia to find out why people fall in love with this infectious style. Daniel, a former drug addict who now works as a cleaner in Buenos Aires, says “those who sing cumbia speak a language that only we can appreciate.” Karina from Cordoba describes how the songs of one of Argentina’s biggest cumbia stars, La Mona Jimenez, helped her through a rough patch, just as they’d comforted her father after her mother left them. La Mona himself says the songs he writes are based on “the realities of life.”