Definition of cumbia in English:



  • 1A kind of dance music of Colombian origin, similar to salsa.

    • ‘One style, the cumbia, is written in 2/4 time and performed with a button accordion, drums, maracas, and horns.’
    • ‘I didn't know what to expect, so I'd brought funk music, dancehall, house, lots of Latin stuff - salsa, cumbia - disco and '80s stuff.’
    • ‘On the coast, the style of music is the cumbia, played with flutes and drums.’
    • ‘Ecuadorans in the costa play a musical style closely related to the coastal Colombian cumbia style, with strong Afro-Caribbean influences.’
    • ‘In this wonderful Cuban-Jamaican take on the genre, you will hear reggae, salsa, Brazilian ritualistic music, Klezmer-style sax, big band brass and little bits of cumbia and son rhythms too.’
    • ‘This phrase arose among a group of New York City musicians during the late 1970s and early 1980s to explain some important, however unrecognized, similarities in salsa, cumbia, and jazz ensembles.’
    • ‘Named for the corn and yucca beer typically made by Andean Indians, chicha has come to represent a vibrant popular culture of tinny cumbia music, doleful lyrics, bright neon colors, and a peculiar street jargon.’
    • ‘Colombian cumbia and salsa music are popular with young people in urban areas.’
    • ‘The most popular musical form in El Salvador is the cumbia, a style that originated in Colombia.’
    • ‘A typical cumbia is performed with a male singer (usually a high baritone or tenor) backed by a male chorus, drums (primarily kettledrum and bass drum), electric guitar and bass, and either a brass section or an accordion.’
    • ‘However, the entrance of a clear cumbia rhythmic pattern played by the guiro, as well as a new rhythmic emphasis provided by the congas in measure 9, reverses our rhythmic interpretation of the introductory passage.’
    • ‘Now he's handed me a pile of CDs of Argentine and Paraguayan cumbia bands.’
    • ‘The entertainment includes a variety of musical styles: rock and roll, cumbia, acoustic folk, campesino folk, and a heavy metal band.’
    • ‘Most tracks feature accordion, several bounce along on a jaunty Colombian cumbia rhythm, and others evoke the reggae and ska of UK two-tone bands.’
    • ‘The band used to run from cumbia to dub to hip hop and back again all within the space of a single song, but now the change-ups mostly happen between songs.’
    • ‘This band mixes all kinds of sounds and genres, including cumbia, hip-hop, salsa, funk, and space-rock.’
    • ‘Their dance-able cumbia rhythm demonstrates the way in which her musical ‘entertainment’ conveys didactic and political messages.’
    • ‘From the first bars, the strength and vitality - a combination of killer voice and solid cumbia rhythm - are irresistible.’
    • ‘My mother's from Colombia, so I grew up waking up on Saturday mornings with my mom blaring cumbia merengue music, cleaning the house and skipping around.’
    • ‘They have taken the technical demands and passion from the past and recast them with subtle chicano influences - the cumbia and conjunto music that they grew up listening to - so they sound fresh.’
    1. 1.1A dance performed to cumbia music.
      • ‘‘I see you are a woman who knows how to dress herself,’ he purred as we danced a tasty cumbia.’
      • ‘Since the late 1980s, the Colombian dance known as cumbia has grown in popularity.’
      • ‘Originally from Colombia, cumbia has traditionally been a sickly-sweet, anodyne affair for dancing couples.’
      • ‘Some compared the quebradita dancing style to the Mexican equivalent of dirty dancing, others as a mixture of lambada, cumbia, salsa, flamenco, tango, and the Texas two-step.’


1940s: from Colombian Spanish, perhaps from Spanish cumbé.