On Radio 3 Now

In Tune

16:30 - 17:30

Sean Rafferty presents a selection of music and guests from the arts world.

Next On Air

17:30 Opera on 3

View full schedule

Awards for World Music 2007 - Americas

Fonseca album cover
Colombian Juan Fernando Fonseca, who goes by his surname 'Fonseca', mixes vallenato and cumbia then adds a squeeze of Latin pop so creating a Colombian cocktail that’s been making a strong impression not just in his native land but also in the US’s burgeoning Latin music market. Cumbia is unofficially Colombia’s national music with its infectious rhythm and airy melody (and Cuban salsa influences) making it hugely popular as a dance form. Vallenato is an accordion-driven music that originated from Colombia’s Atlantic coast in the 19th Century. Popular legend has the music’s founder Francisco el Hombre being so good he outplayed the devil himself in an accordion duel. Today German made accordions destined for the Colombian market are specifically adjusted before export to provide the warm, reedy sound vallenato demands.

Both cumbia and vallenato music have grown from local to national (and later, to a degree, international) phenomenons. The first successful fusion of these two musical forms was by Carlos Vives, a singer and soap opera actor who is hugely popular in Colombia. Fonseca, born in 1980, is pushing forward what Vives achieved with his cumbia-vallenato fusion while establishing his own unique sound.

Fonseca has been singing since aged five and, when 12, he pressed 500 copies of a CD that featured a recording of him singing one of his own compositions and sold it to friends, family and neighbours. This pro-active start didn’t stop Fonseca from taking musical composition very seriously – he studied at Bogata University and Berkley College of Music in Boston. Returning to Colombia he issued his self-titled debut album in 2002. Local response to his positive lyrics and infectious rhythms was strong and Fonseca began to establish himself as one of Colombia’s new stars.

Fonseca worked for two years on his second album, 2006’s Corazon (Heart), which found him travelling to Valledupar to work with many of the finest vallenato musicians. Mixing in African drums and salsa flavours, Fonseca created on Corazon a unique, languid sound, one both relaxed and sensual. The success of Corazon found Fonseca nominated for three Latin Grammys.

Garth Cartwright

Fonseca's website (in English and Spanish)
Read other people's comments then Tell us what you think:

What a smooth stuff,it makes the winter supportable

Diana, Chicago
I'm waiting to see Fonseca in Chicago ofr 'Festival La Musica' in Grant Park, I hope to see him!

Amelia, Colorado
Love love love this music. He is an amazing artist that touches your emotions with his music. That is powerful...you also can not help but want to dance and clap along...te mando flores

Max Guerrero Providence RI. USA
Muy bueno, Fonseca, sigue adelante. Me gustaria escuchar los ballenatos y las mezclas con tambores africanos.Muchas Gracias.Max

Thomas, Recife-Brasil
Very much worth listening to, even when you´re in Pernambuco, the heart of Brazilian music

Revia from Malaysia
I like his music and his voice. Very Sexy!!!!!

jessica babyphat
i am a big fan of u and i thing that your songs are very great.

Kim Cox
I love this guy!!!!

Jim, France
Big fan of this young super talent. Hope someday soon he comes to Europe to perform

Sean Gallagher
Superb!!!. My Colombian (Bogota)girlfriend played this for me...I love this music!!! This CD is next on my shopping list.

Carolina - Colombia
A great artist, an excellent human being. Another colombian gift to the world, enjoy !!!!

gloriaorozco cali-colombia
fonseca es un orgullo para los colombianos. esperamos que los grupos que vienen atrás como bonka y "sin animo de lucro" lleguen tan lejos

Maria Helena- Colombia
One of the best we have. VIVA COLOMBIA!!!

Alex, Kuwait
Heard this in the car today. Came straight home and ordered it. Brilliant.

nnjean col
the best of america

juancalos correa
viva colombia.

Lesley Forrest Winchester
Delicious trumpet, sexy rythms, very cool...

Adrian Castano Sunnyside NYC
The first time I heard Fonseca with his song "te mando flores" I though it was Carlos Vives. I just like this guy very much.

Viv Cumbria
Enjoyed the song - the words and music, made me want to hear more.

Gar Dorset
Fonseca's song is delicate and sincere; an excellent blend of discreet trumpet and voice; words to match.

Tell us what you think:

Your Name and Location:

Your comment:

Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.