Season 3 of Narcos is all about the Cali cartel and what goes on in Colombia’s third largest city.
And if you’re thinking show producers went overboard portraying Cali as a place where all anyone seems to do is party, well, you’re wrong. Cali is known worldwide as “la capital de la salsa” (Salsa capital of the world) and its population of 2.4 million plays hard, parties hard and dances like no one else. Cali connoisseurs, in fact, will tell you that no other Latin city has this many songs written about it.
Here are 10 essential tracks dedicated to what is, perhaps, Latin America’s liveliest city.
1. “Cali Pachanguero,” Grupo Niche
This quintessential Cali anthem by Cali’s quintessential salsa band literally translates to “Partying Cali.” If you’re going to have one Cali track in your collection, this is it.
2. “Oiga, Mire, Vea,” Grupo Guayacán
You can call Guayacán sonic cousins to Grupo Niche. This other city anthem, whose title plays Cali slang, is showcased in Narcos.
3. “A la Loma de la Cruz,” Piper Pimienta
This ode to one of Cali’s landmark mountain peaks (the Peak of the Cross), a destination for Easter penance (and runners), is a must-play in any Cali party.
4. “Las Caleñas Son Como las Flores,” Piper Pimienta
Another Piper Pimienta track, this one is a celebration of Cali’s famously beautiful women.
5. “Para Tí Caleña,” Nelson y Sus Estrellas
And, while on the subject of Cali girls, this oldie from the ’70s is still a dance floor favorite.
6. “Amparo Arrebato,” Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz
Salsa icons Richie Ray (from New York) and Bobby Cruz (Puerto Rico), also staples at Cali’s annual fair, wrote this song for fabled Cali salsa dancer Amparo Arrebato.
7. “Me Voy Pa’ Cali,” Oscar D’León
People from Cali aren’t the only ones who sing the city’s praises. Venezuelan sonero Oscar D’León penned this irresistible dance track for a city he usually performs in at least once a year.
8. “Mi Cali Bella,” Billos Caracas Boys
Venezuela’s love affair with Cali is longstanding. Big band Billos Caracas Boys also penned a Cali love letter.
9. “Así Es Que Se Baila en Cali,” Willy García
García’s frenetic dance track celebrates Cali’s fine dancing. Try it out.
10. “Cali Aji,” Grupo Niche
We begin with Grupo Niche and end with Grupo Niche. Here’s another Cali celebration.