Rock music is an important staple of contemporary Colombian music and Colombia is known throughout Latin America as one of the most important and rich places for punk in the continent. Artists such as Aterciopelados, Kraken and Masacre have all helped to build this reputation. The rock movement is celebrated in style in Bogotá, where an annual festival known as Rock Al Parque takes place, attracting international talent such as Coheed and Cambria, Dead Kennedys, Fito Páez and much more. I wrote about Rock Al Parque before, so check that out.
If you’re not in on the rock scene, however, it can be hard to discover for yourself. Much more likely is that you’ll end up finding yourself partying in one of the country’s many electro clubs. Electronic music is massive here and found in various forms. The most popular exponents of music influenced by electronica are Bomba Estereo, who are currently touring the world and rapidly gaining an international fanbase. Bomba Estereo sound distinctively Colombian and, yet, their real coup is that their music boasts international appeal (as evidenced by their string of tour dates around Europe). Just give ‘Fuego‘ a listen and try not to nod your head.
Other styles of music that achieve a great deal of air-time (especially in clubs) are reggaeton (check out Daddy Yankee and Don Omar for two popular examples) and modern takes on traditional musical styles such as Carlos Vives and his very popular brand of vallenato. Reggaeton is a little repetitive for my tastes, but it does allow you to get very close to women without them accusing you of anything, so it gets my vote.
In terms of international artists, Bogotá has recently been host to artists as diverse (and great) as: LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip, Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne, BLK JKS and Caribou. It’s worth trying to find out what’s on because lately a whole host of artists seem to be heading here to perform.