Champeta, one of Colombia's autochthonous genres, is being played more and more around the world. And from its origin, which comes from the mixture of the Afro-Caribbean tradition with international and African music, it is a rhythm that can make anyone dance. Here we tell you where it comes from and give you some tips to dance to it in the best Colombian style.


Champeta, a genre that is part of the Caribbean culture of Colombia, and that for decades has made even the stiffest move on the dance floor, has been taking possession of much bigger stages in recent years, and now, it has made an apparition on an international level, it even was the star in one of the most watched shows in the world: the Super Bowl halftime show, in which it shone with his rhythm, choreography, and joy in the most Latin presentation in the history of the sporting event. 

And because we know that it is on its way to taking over the bars, parties, and stages of the world, we are going to teach you a little more about this musical genre, and some of its most notable moves, so you can enjoy it in the best Colombian style. 


Characteristics of this musical genre


The Colombian Caribbean is a region that has the perfect ingredients for the birth of a genre like champeta: the ideal climate, the joy of its people, and a privileged geographical position that gives the region the possibility of a cultural exchange like no other. 

It was thanks to these elements and driven by a strong influence of the musical tradition of San Basilio de Palenque (a township declared Cultural and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO) that champeta was born in Cartagena de Indias, a contemporary rhythm that brings influences from African rhythms such as juju or highlife, Antillean rhythms such as calypso and Haitian compás, mixed with traditional Colombian rhythms of African descent, such as mapalé and bullerengue. 

And with this variety of rhythms in its heart, champeta began to take not only the meeting places or parties in the Colombian Caribbean, but the streets of the region, and did so with one of its most representative elements: the picós, massive assemblies of speakers and sub-woofers so large that could only be transported in trucks, specifically in pick-up trucks, an English word that baptized the sound systems that gave life to the champeta. 

Over the years, champeta went from being a genre born of counterculture and Afro-Colombian tradition, to a Caribbean cultural element that began to take over the hearts (and feet and hips) of the whole country, permeating more popular genres such as urban, reggaeton and even pop, to the point where international artists like Shakira have taken it, for example, to the SuperBowl, and to be a trend in the digital world.

Credits: Liz Dany Campo Diaz / Instagram


Basic steps of champeta


The most important thing to learn to dance this genre is to let yourself be carried away by the warmth and joy that it carries in its notes, feel the warmth of the Colombian Caribbean, and let yourself be infected by the joy of our people. 

And to put it into practice, let's give you a starting point: the champeta is danced from the hips, with movements that move to the feet and hands, trying to keep the torso still; it sounds complicated, but when you feel it, the synchronization of these three parts creates energetic and beautiful movements that will undoubtedly infect you with the joy that the genre transmits. 

With this in mind, we show you 3 tutorials with basic steps so you can learn, practice, and master the #ChampetaChallenge.


Tutorial 1:

Credits: Liz Dany Campo Diaz / Instagram


Tutorial 2:

Credits: Liz Dany Campo Diaz / Instagram


Tutorial 3:

Credits: Liz Dany Campo Diaz / Instagram


Music tourism

When you arrive in the Colombian Caribbean, in Cartagena de Indias or Barranquilla, and you hear the rhythm of champeta, you understand the spirit of the region. And although it is played all over the country, there is nothing like enjoying this musical genre in its origin, blasting from a good-old picó. There are many places you can visit where they will even give you champeta classes so that you can put into practice what we teach you here, places like Bazurto, in the heart of Getsemaní, one of the most traditional neighborhoods of Cartagena, and where the dance takes over whoever dares to enjoy this piece of Colombian musical culture. 

The music of the regions moves us, and we want it to move you too. Visit Colombia and enjoy our rhythms, traditions, and above all the warmth of the most welcoming country in the world.




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