Currulao (music genre)

Children playing music of the musical axis of the South Pacific

Currulao is a musical genre, though strictly speaking, it also references to the folkloric dance from the Pacific region of Colombia, whose variations can also be observed in regions of Ecuador.[1] Traditionally it is known as old bambuco, and is a dance oriented towards courtship. Its origin is closely related with the African descended culture of the region.[2]

The word currulao alludes to the word "cununao" which is a reference to the drums of African origin that play an important part in the folklore of the Colombian Pacific region, the cununos. It also has a part in the typical dances of Colombia.


If the music involves the use of a Chirimia which is popular in the north coast, specifically in el Chocó: Tambora drum, Cununo hembra drum, Cununo macho drum, and a clarinet are used. This grouping can also include a euphonium that in some cases replaces or accompanies a saxophone.

If it involves a group of Marimba which is popular in the south of the region, specifically south of el Chocó, Valle del Cauca, Cauca, and Nariño: the marimba of chonta, the cununos (hembra and macho), guasá, and the bass drum.

Dance StyleEdit

Currulao is the most popular dance style for many Afro-Colombian communities along the Pacific coast. It has characteristics that summarize the African influences brought in during the colonial period by miners in the basins of the rivers of the occident of the territory. In practice, it is possible to observe references of a sacramental rite of ancestral strength and magic in currulao.

Currulao is a dance that involves loose pairs, with themes of love and nature. The movements of the dancers are agile and vigorous. For the male partner, they use grand movements of strength, without unbalancing the harmony of the dance. The woman, on the other hand, dances in a calm manner while their partner looks to seduce her with flirts, kicks, flexes, fans, and swishing movements with their handkerchief. The choreography develops basically in two simultaneous actions: one of circular rotation and another of a direct movement, forming small circles, that configure into an eight. The figures that predominate are the confrontation in groups, advances and retreats in sequence, intersecting of the dancers, twists, jumps, and movements with the handkerchief.

The dance acquires big plastic beauty by means of the concretion of several elements, like the slenderness of men and women, the ritual seriousness of the faces, the game with the handkerchieves and the grace of the attitudes, that are reinforced with gesticulations and twists. In terms of dance pattern, the currulao has varied regional modifications, notably from the berejú, patacoré, juga, bámbara negra, caderona, and pango people.


  1. ^ "¡Arriba Suena Marimba! Currulao Marimba Music from Colombia by Grupo Naidy". Smithsonian Folkways.
  2. ^ "Ethnic channel - The Currulao". Archived from the original on 2008-10-06. Retrieved 2016-05-12.