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Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | INDIE

Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2009
Band World Afropop




"NPR - Songs We Love / Tribu Baharu"

There are very few guarantees in life. But one of them must — must! — be that as soon as you hear "Made in Tribu Baharú," you'll start moving. (I promise.) It's a song from Tribu Baharú, a band from Bogotá, Colombia — and the sextet's high-energy, abundantly joyful calls to the dance floor belie a complicated history.
Tribu Baharú's musical style, called champeta, originated as a type of folk music within communities of African descent along Colombia's Caribbean coast. Not acknowledging their country's African heritage and its history in the slave trade, many people in Colombia looked down on the sounds of champeta and the people it represented. (In fact, there are reportedly still people who would like to try to squelch champeta; these days, the charge is that it encourages teen pregnancy.)
In the 1970s and '80s, traveling West African sailors docking in ports like Cartagena and Barranquilla carried along LPs of Congolese soukous as well as Ghanaian and Nigerian highlife bands. Colombian artists began soaking up the lilting guitars and big, jazzy harmonies, and all those influences started commingling in the "picó" (sound system) culture of Colombia's ports. That is how a modern, dazzlingly energetic and decidedly African champeta was born.
Tribu Baharú is a band of champeta champions, who turn that melange of influences into an incredibly fun live show. The first time I saw this group live was in Spain in 2014; that night, they turned a crowd of spectators into a solid mass of sweaty dancers. If you are in New York City, you can have your own turn this coming Sunday night, when Tribu Baharú appear at the annual showcase — summit, really — of musical talents from around the world: globalFEST.
Tribu Baharú's album Pa'l Más Exigente Bailador is out now on Tambora. - National Public Radio

"Kennedy Center Millennium Stage / Live Performance - Tribu Baharu"

Hailing from Bogotá, Colombia, Tribu Baharú is a high energy sextet that performs Afro Caribbean folk music known as champeta, uniting its history and culture into a jazzy and energetic sound.

Streamed live on Aug 22, 2016 - The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

"Colombia's Tribu Baharú Take Afrocaribeño Champeta to New Heights"

Champeta has a champion in Tribu Baharú (pronounced ba-roo).
The band, formed in Bogota in 2009, have been steadily taking their style of champeta to new heights. They’ve played the big WOMEX confence in Spain as well as SunFest in London (that’s in Ontario), Canada, and their United States debut on Jan. 17 at a sold-out Globalfest concert earned them a NPR “Songs We Love” piece and a New York Times mention.

That champeta is getting international attention thanks to a sextet who hail from different parts of Colombia’s Atlantic coast (with one born in the country’s Pacific region) as we approach Barranquilla Carnival 2016, makes the band’s buzzworthiness that much more special. After all, this is a genre of music that was once denigrated and damned, boycotted and banned. And, this writer remembers some Colombians scoffing at the genre during a visit to the 2012 Carnival. So what changed?

Tribu Baharú’s drummer, Pocho (real name: Cesar A. Urueta Figueroa) attributes champeta’s popularity to a number of factors, among them, champeta urbano’s (think Kevin Florez) ascent earlier this decade, and an overall popularity for music from all over the Caribbean (think Latin Grammy-nominated Choquibtown.)

We see it as an overall acceptance of Carribean music influenced by African style on a whole. From bachata’s meteoric rise to Diblo’s love – and mainstreaming – of dancehall sounds, there’s no denying that music with clear African roots is getting its due, even though some decry its appropriation or coopting by mainstream pop stars.

Whatever led to champeta’s great popularity (just do a search for ‘bailando champeta’ or ‘champeta’ on sites like Instagram or YouTube) things have been good for Tribu Baharú. Pocho tells us the band are especially proud that their afrocaribeño style, different in that it involves live instrumentation, as opposed to the champeta criolla style using of pre-recorded beats, is finally getting its due.

Champeta as a genre was born in the 1970s, when those working on boats from West Africa, docked in Cartagena’s port, bringing with them records of South African mbaqanga, Congolese soukous and Nigerian highlife. (Read more about champeta’s origin in this 2010 Sounds and Colours piece.) But it hasn’t always been readily accepted by all in the country, some who attribute the genre to a rise in teenaged pregnancy.

Nevertheless, the band’s high-energy music is clearly influenced by champeta and the magic that came out of the picós. Music and lyrics are written as a group and with “the dancer” in mind, “just as Joe Arroyo sang for el bailador, we make music for el bailador,” Pocho says. Lyrics are peppered with bantú lyrics (the Spanish-based creole spoken by Palenqueros) as well as English.

The band has an uncanny way of constantly flaunting their Afro-Caribbean roots and the costeño way of life in the lyrics. For instance, in “El Negro de Caribe,” the song begins with a question for Shaka “el terrible,” the group’s MC:

‘Hey, Shaka, where are you from, my man?’
“I’m from the Caribbean … I’m black and proud.”

And the band’s declarative anthem, “Made in Tribu Baharú,” with its infectious hook, “Pa que vaciles …  pa que lo bailes tú… pa que lo goces … con Tribu Baharú,”  (so you have fun, so you dance, so you enjoy with Tribu ), they implore the dancer:

“Ponte vacano, que hay baile hoy!” (Get your best on; look good, because there is a party tonight! This is actually a lyric from this Joe Arroyo gem.)

All of that is heard in the music, found on their first album, Pa’l Más Exigente Bailador. Friend of the band, Elkin Pautt of Delsonido, who helped arrange their U.S. tour, tells us the band’s
guitarist, Boris “Boricua” Nelson, is one of the top two champeta guitarists in their country.

Pocho confirms this, adding that having global influences, and a love of many types of music, has helped the band evolve musically, without losing that authentic champeta feel.

“I like all music, from all things Caribbean to rock and roll. And you can hear it our rhythms,” Pocho says.

Up next for the band: recording a new record. As far as goals, they’d love to someday travel throughout the continent of Africa.
“We’d love to take our music and interchange it with Africans,” he says. “It would be great to tour there and record there, and to interchange our music and cultures. Africa is that spot that it would be beautiful to share music.” - Sounds and Colours

"Tribu Baharú en Europa latina"

Muestra de vídeo promocional. - Europa latina

"Tribu Baharú en Visitantes"

Visitantes con la Tribu Baharú

Se nos metieron los coletos de la Tribu Baharú al estudio de Radio Mixticius. Malpelo, Boris, Poncho, Moniqui y El Monosóniko se hicieron presentes para contarnos y ratificar por qué su música esta hecha “para el más exigente bailador”. En esta charla nos encontramos con una agrupación solida, integrada por exponentes y discipulos de la música de afrodescendientes colombianos, representantes de la tradición, del nuevo folclor y de la sabrosura de la costa que ya estan pegando por toda la geografía nacional. - Radio Mixticius

"Atracción de Berbetronik 4.0"

Monareta, Femputadora, Tribu Baharu y ChocQuibTown encenderán la rumba de los amantes de la música fusión y los sonidos electrónicos en esta cuarta versión de la Berbetronik. - El heraldo (Barranquilla)

"¡A prepararse para el XI Festival Colombia al parque!"

Entre las agrupaciones invitadas al evento se encuentran Aluvión, Campanitas, Exocandela, Tribu Baharu y Colombiando, quienes darán a conocer a propios y visitantes lo mejor de los ritmos colombianos. - Confidencial TV

"La champeta revive en Bogotá"

Tribu Baharú, en plena presentación, generando el goce colectivo en Quiebra Canto - Para el Heraldo (Barranquilla) Por: Iván Bernal Marín

"Tribu Baharú – Pal´más exigente bailador"

Nota: En agosto estarán abriendo las presentaciones de Diblo Dibala guitarrista gongoleño de Soukous en el IV Cartagena de Indias Voces del Jazz Festival 2013 - Africolombia


  1. Currently working on new recording to be released in 2017
  2. Album released, June 2014, "Amor Campeto" 
  3. Tribu Baharu - "El Besito" EP, 2014
  4. Tribu Baharu -  P'al Mas Exigente Bailador EP, 2012
  5. Tribu Baharu -  EP, 2011



“There are very few guarantees in life. But one of them must — must! — be that
as soon as you hear "Made in Tribu Baharú," you'll start moving. (I promise.)”
- NPR Music

Hailing from Bogotá, Colombia,  Tribu Baharú is an afro-champeta music crew whose sound has evolved from the Colombian Caribbean and is influenced by the "Pico" (sound system) culture of Barranquilla and Cartagena.

Champeta is a term that refers to a knife used by fishermen to remove fish scales and has been used to describe the music of Colombia's Atlantic Coast that have taken it's influences from Colombian folk music, Central African Soukous-Rhumba (congo), Soweto Township-Jive, and other Carribbean originated musics such as zouk, calipso, soca, compa and reggae.

Founded in 2009, Tribu Baharú has evolved to become - arguably - the most important Afro-Champeta ensemble on the current international scene.    Amongst the list of prestigious events, theaters and festival where Tribu has performed include:

  • WOMEX 2014 (Jury Selected Artist) - Santiago de Compostela, Spain
  • globalFEST 2016 (Jury Selected Artist) - New York, NY
  • Festival Internacional Quimera 2016 - Mexico City, Mexico
  • John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts - Washington, DC - 2016
  • American Folk Festival - Bangor, ME - 2016
  • El Gran Festival Colombiano! - Chicago, Il 2015
  • PanAmerican Festival - Toronto, Ontario - 2015
  • Montreal Jazz Festival - Montreal, Quebec - 2015
  • Sunfest - London, Ontario - 2015
  • Festival Centro - Bogota 2014
  • Clausura Festival MINEC - San Andres 2014
  • Gala de Premios Shock, Bogota 2013
  • Showcase Boom music market, Bogota 2013
  • Festival Colombia al Parque, Bogota 2012.
  • Festival Sonparei, Barranquilla 2012.
  • Showcase V Mercado Cultural del Caribe, Cartagena 2011.

Band Members