Spotlight: La Sonora Dinamita

Tomorrow night, living cumbia legend La Sonora Dinamita brings its iconic Colombian rhythms, fiery horn lines and powerhouse vocals to Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles for the fourth time! Known for their historic Latin music taste-making, the group’s contagious tropical beats have helped to popularize cumbia music throughout Latin America and across the globe. Angelenos are in for an unforgettable night of danceable, “dynamite sounds” (as the band’s name loosely translates). In honor of tomorrow’s show, here’s 10 fun facts about this longstanding cumbia supergroup.

  • The original orchestra formed in 1960 in Columbia’s colorful coastal town of Cartagena de Indias, under the direction of Colombian arranger, composer and bandleader Lucho Argaín.
  • The group disbanded in 1963 and re-formed in 1975 under the direction of Julio Ernesto Estrada “Fruko” Rincón—the artistic director of the Discos Fuentes record label.
  • With a career spanning more than half-a-century, La Sonora Dinamita has issued more than 45 albums.
  • The group’s 1986 album Sida climbed to No. 5 on the Regional Mexican Albums charts.
  • Their 1989 and 1990 singles “Mi Cucu” and “El Viejo del Sombrerón” reached the top of the Latin charts.
  • Since 1989, Vilma Díaz has been a vocalist for La Sonora Dinamita—bringing life to some of the group’s most notable hits, including “Escándalo” (1983) and earning the reputation of “La Diva de La Cumbia” before becoming the lead vocalist for the group around 2005.
  • In 2017, several of La Sonora Dinamita’s records achieved Gold or Platinum status.
  • In 2018, the band was nominated for ‘Best Tropical Band’ and ‘Best Tropical Album’ by the Billboard Awards.
  • Over the years, the group has nurtured and helped launch the careers of several dynamic female cumbia stars—including Mélida Yará Yanguma, known as “La India Meliyará” and praised for her strong, soaring vocals on tracks like the classic “Mi Cucu;” Margarita Vargas, known as “La Diosa” (“The Goddess”) of cumbia, who lent her sweet vocals to favorites like “A Mover la Colita;” and the group’s current vocal powerhouse, Vilma Díaz (or “La Diva de La Cumbia”).
  • Born in Medellín, Columbia, where she was influenced by her father’s musical career as a singer/guitarist in the popular “Los Marinos” trio, Vilma Díaz has grown into a celebrated international cumbia sensation. She has performed for the King of Spain, the past President of El Salvador Alfredo Cristiani (during the signing of an historic Peace Treaty) and has been named an honorary citizen of several cities in the United States, including Dallas, Texas—which also presented Díaz with a key to the city.

If you’re in the Los Angeles area, get ready to show off your #musicmoves to La Sonora Dinamita’s contagious cumbia. And wherever you are, if you’re ready to start off your holiday weekend with some fun musical “dynamite,” check out La Sonora Dinamita’s playlist below!


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