I feel so lucky to have been born in such a diverse country. At this gift-giving and reflective time of year, when I am thinking about what I want and need, I think about the advice that I’ve heard repeatedly and truly believe – that, at least for someone in the middle class like me,  life experiences and travel can bring so much more happiness and fulfillment than material things. On that note, I really hope someday I have the time to travel and learn from the different cultures of Colombia. And I would love to start that journey by visiting family first. My parents are from the Caribbean coast (known in Colombia as The Coast, or “La Costa”) and moved to Cali a long time ago. I  have extended family in many places in the country so planning a trip that included family connections would be a beautiful experience and allow me to learn more about my own country and heritage.

One of the ways diversity shows up in Colombia is through music. Señal Colombia is a national television channel funded and founded by the government. The channel focuses on content that reflects the different Colombian cultures and populations. The channel also has a space on YouTube. I highly recommend that you explore it if you want to learn more about my beautiful Colombia – its cultures, people, and history!

Colombia is divided into five different regions: the Pacific, Andes, Orinoco, Amazon, and Caribbean. The country is made up of 31 departments (similar to states or provinces), all ethnically distinct from one another to varying degrees. As you can see below, each region is represented in a video, but Colombia’s musical diversity goes way beyond what’s shown here in these Christmas songs.

Song: Los peces en el río. Genre: Bullerengue/chalupa. Group: Las mujeres de mi tierra. Region: Caribean- Cartagena

Song: Tutaina. Genre: Merengue/Rumbita. Group: Cadivan. Arreglos: Region: Andina –  Boyacá

Song: Feliz Navidad. Genre: Mento. Grupo: Creole. Region: Caribean – San Andrés y Providencia

Song: El reloj. Genre: Arrullo. Grupo: Mingacho y sus Muchachos. Region: Pacific – Bahia Solano

Song: Noche de paz. Genre: Mento/Reggae. Grupo: Creole  Region: Caribean – San Andrés y Providencia

Song: Mi burrito sabanero. Genre: Arrullo. Grupo: Canalón de Timbiquí. Region: Pacific

Song: Salve Reina y Madre. Genre: Gaita Venezolana. Grupo: Herman Chala. Region: Orinoco