The famous Colombian poet -- Rafael Pombo -- once wrote:
“Para conjurar el tedio de este vivir, tan maluco,
Dios me depare un bambuco y al punto, santo remedio”
In order to avert tedium in this life, so awful.
God has sent me a bambuco and with it, a holy remedy.
Most musicians, anthropologists, and historians claim that Bambuco has its roots in African mixed with Indigenous culture -- with some Spanish thrown in for good measure. Whatever its roots, however, Bambuco is a uniquely Colombian genre that has spread to other parts of South and Central America. Bambuco is most commonly associated with the following Departments of Colombia: Nariño, Cauca, Valle del Cauca, Tolima, Huila, Antioquia, Risaralda, Quindío, Cundinamarca, both Santanders, and Boyacá.
While there are modern singers of Bambuco (Conjunto Villa María, Trío Palo Santo, and Cuarto Palos), it is typically considered to be folkloric music.
It is based on 3/4 or 6/8 time, and employs instruments such as the Tiple, the Bandola, the Guitar, the Requinto and some people add flutes or other instruments. A few weeks ago I mentioned the contest held to decide the 20 most beautiful songs of Colombia. Well, among the top 20 are 5 Bambucos. In fact, the song that took second place is a Bambuco. It is called, "Yo también tuve 20 años" -- "I also was once 20 years old", by José A. Morales.
Here is a link to the song:
The song that took 7th place is also a Bambuco -- SOY COLOMBIANO by Rafael Godoy. Awesome song!! Ay que orgulloso me siento de ser un buen Colombiano!
There is a beautiful dance associated with the Bambuco. The dance itself is associated with love, and shows a process of a romance between campesinos. It has several parts:
1- The invitation (La invitación)
2- The flirting (Los coqueteos)
3- The pursuit (La perseguida) -- where sometimes a kiss is stolen
4- The union (La unión)
Here are a couple of links to videos showing the dance. You will note that no two dances are exactly alike.
For the Bambuco, traditional costumes are worn. In fact, purchasing a traditional bambuco costume could be a great souvenir for a Colombian born child.