From Shakira to Maluma: Celebrate Colombian Independence Day With 10 Artists We Love

Happy birthday, Colombia! On this day in 1810 the country marked its independence from Spanish rule. But equally worthy of celebration is its music. Whether it’s the queen of Latin pop, Shakira, or the country’s latest Latin urban export, Maluma, Colombia has some of the best music around. It’s no wonder reggaeton recently made the country its new hub.  

Here are 10 artists who have a special place in our hearts.

Shakira

She's as gorgeous as the precious emeralds native to Colombia, but we don't just love Shak for her beauty -- we love her for making the world a better place through all of her humanitarian efforts.

 

Carlos Vives

The king of tropi-pop made Colombian folk music, vallenato, cool for the kids back in the ‘90s and we never stopped loving him since -- even though he almost disappeared into oblivion for almost a decade. Lucky for us, he reemerged triumphant in 2013 with Corazón Profundo, and at 53 sounds better than ever. Currently on his Más Corazón Profundo tour, he’s set to play to a packed El Campín Stadium in Bogotá for a special night, “Carlos Vives & Friends,” proving he’s not just beloved by the public, but revered by his peers. This September, he’ll also head out on tour with Marc Anthony.

Maluma

The Colombian phenom, 21, has taken the music world by storm and gained a whole new audience when he signed on as a judge on La Voz Kids Colombia. He’s also the king of Instagram, with more followers (4.7 million and counting) than any other male Latin artist at the moment. His latest single “Borró Cassette” proves he’s not just a one-hit wonder.

Bomba Estéreo

Whether it’s a fancy club or a sweaty basement party, it’s not a proper fiesta without the sounds of this electro-pop outfit from Bogotá.

Juanes

We’ve loved the rock idol through all of his hair phases – long, medium, short. But what’s always stayed the same is the quality of music and its uplifting message. Lately, he’s made the transition into Hollywood, too, contributing the theme song for Disney’s film McFarland USA and a guest role in the hit TV show, Jane The Virgin.

Fonseca

Another tropical artist who mixes vallenato and cumbia with pop. He makes our hearts happy and gets our feet moving, ever since his breakout hit “Te Mando Flores” in 2005.

J Balvin

One of the biggest breakout acts Latin music has seen in years, Latin urban sensation J Balvin is not some wide-eyed, fame-hungry teen that got here overnight. Rather, he’s a meticulous student of the game whose success has been gestating for nearly a decade. His latest single “Ginza” sees him going in a new direction while still heating up dance floors everywhere.

Choc Quib Town

This Colombian collective hails from Colombia’s rural Pacific coast but honed its sounds in the gritty city of Cali. Their music -- a melange of hip-hop, reggaeton, electronica, ska, Afro-Latin rhythms and rapper-singer Goyo Martinez's soulful charisma -- is simply irresistible. As proven by their latest album, El Mismo, the trio seems to have found its sweet spot.

 

Fanny Lu

The blonde beauty arrived on the scene in 2006 with the breakthrough hit, “No Te Pido Flores,” as the female answer to Carlos Vives, but, like the vallenato king has been absent from music since 2011. A judging gig on La Voz Colombia has kept her in the public eye but we’re glad to hear she’s working on a comeback album with help from Mr. Comeback himself, Vives.

 

Aterciopelados

The ‘90s band fronted by singer Andrea Echeverri and bassist/arranger Hector Buitrago proved the country had more to offer musically than pop and vallenato. They may not be making music together anymore but their rock anthems across eight albums endure.