Photography by: Jonathan David
As someone who is just starting to learn about the local music scene here in Barranquilla, I’m quickly finding out that in a region that has historically only accepted traditional music, alternative rock is becoming more and more popular. And what I like the most about discovering artists in this new genre, is the cool fusion of Costeno-Caribbean sounds and alternative rock guitar riffs. These rhythms are spun at the perfect bpm’s and invoke a range of sounds from energetic drum sets to electro-Caribbean beats. While the genre is still in its infancy, there are some great artists showcasing their talent in venues across Puerto Colombia and Barranquilla.
Emje is one of many local artists who left the city to study elsewhere, but have since returned to tell their stories of their beloved city of Barranquilla. A singer-songwriter and a storyteller of the popular culture in La Costa Colombia, Emje Rose spent a few years in Bogota at Universidad Javeriana studying music and upon graduation, she packed her bags and came back home to write music on her inspiration of the city.
Emje started singing about ten years ago and her style has changed a bit over the time. Her music expresses an “El sabor de la costa”, or the exoticism of la Costa, with a ska-inspired song called Sabrosito, where she sings from a refreshingly different perspective – that of a young woman singing about her love interest (different from popular Vallenato music in the region). In Barranquilla, she sings about the beauty of the city and living in it, as well as the tropical breeze and the sand. I love how Barranquillero musicians sing about the beauty of their home. All that positive energy makes this such a great city to live in.
I’ve noticed a trend among alt-rock artists in the city; they’re singing in both English and Spanish. Emje’s first English track will be produced with the guys at Afro Music Studio and will be called I’m Thinking of You. Below is her song “Barranquilla” from her album, La Pura Sabrosura.