A friend from Colombia just sent us wonderful video by Colombian (Chocoano) group ChoQuibTown, which led me to find out about the predominantly African-American and Native American territory of Chocó. With a healthy dose of social criticism, their albums—which include Oro, El bombo, and Somos Pacífico—reveal an intriguing mix of Colombian and Caribbean rhythms such as currulao, bunde, bambazú, aguabajo, Colombian hip-hop, salsa, songo, guajira, reggae, and reggaetón, among others. The group includes lead singer Goyo (Gloria Martínez) and lead/back-up singers Tostao and Slow. In “De donde vengo yo” [Where I Come From], they sing about the salient characteristics, customs, everyday life, and concerns of the Chocoano community. Below, I have attached recent hits “De donde vengo yo” and “Oro” [Gold], which presents a critique of the state of the gold-mining industry of Chocó. Chocó’s capital is Quibdó, hence the group’s name, ChoQuibTown.
The territory of Chocó is located in northwest Colombia and borders the Pacific Ocean, Panama, the Caribbean Sea, Antioquia, Risaralda, and Valle del Cauca. It has an area of 46,530 square kilometres and nearly 650,000 inhabitants. Four geographical regions can be recognized: the stripe of the seaboard, the mountainous region of Baudó, the basins of the Atrato and San Juan rivers and the western side of the western cordillera (mountain range). This department has the region’s highest degree of humidity, hot temperatures, exuberant vegetation, and intense rain, so economic activity is precarious. A very thick and flooded rainforest known as the Tapón del Darién (“Darien’s blockage”) is found in the valley of the Atrato river. Chocó has two important seaports. One of them located in Bahía Solano on the Pacific Ocean and the other one in Acandí, on the coast of the Caribbean Sea.
Chocó’s main source of income comes from the gold mining industry, as it is the second-largest producer of that precious metal in Colombia. The San Juan River valley is one of the richest platinum regions in the world, so platinum mining is another important economic activity. Silver and copper are also mined in Chocó. There is also an abundant exploitation of petroleum and wood and there is considerable banana, coconut, cacao, rice, and corn production in the region of the Gulf of Urabá.
The Chocoano territory was inhabited by the Chocoes, Cradle, Emberas and Baudoes native tribes. [. . .] The population of Chocó is mostly African descendants. Some of them mixed with white and native peoples. Sixty-seven per cent of the population of Chocó lives in rural areas, where there are 82 native reserves.
[Many thanks to Ximena Collazos for bringing this group to our attention and for sending Oro, a magnificent CD!]
Information about Chocó from http://www.colombia-sa.com/departamentos/choco/choco-in.html
See ChoQuibTown’s site at http://chocquibtown.com/
Listen to ChoQuibTown’s “De donde vengo yo”
Listen to “Oro” at