Sound Check: Welcome to ChocQuib Town, You Won’t Want to Leave

ChocQuibTown has been burning up stages with their hip-hop fusion ever since breaking out in 2006 with Somos Pacificos, a record that garnered the Colombian act a Best New Artist nomination at last year’s Grammys. They recently released their sophomore effort, Oro out on Nacional Records (10.99,, and are still in high demand. I caught up with female emcee Goyo as they prepare to kick off their European tour in May, during which they’ll take the rhythms of their country’s Pacific coast from Barcelona, Spain to Berne, Switzerland:

How did you all get started?

[Emcees] Tostao, Slow and I started recording at home and playing in Cali, where the hip-hop movement was strong. It developed from there. We started in 2000, in 2004 we added two more members and in 2006 we had an album.

What were the influences?

We created a style that’s very much our own by listening to North American hip-hop, like Mos Def and the Fugees, and Latin music, like salsa, and the music of the Pacific.

Where did the name come from?

It was a tribute to the place where we come from: Chocó is the department, Quibdó is the capital and Town is for village.

What do you want people to know about Colombia?

I want them to know that Colombia is more than marijuana, coca and coffee. There’s an abundance of culture in the Chocó region; many rhythms and sounds. And the Pacific is much more virgin than other parts of the country because it’s been preserved.

Can you pick a favorite track from Oro?

“De Donde Vengo Yo” really captures the essence of the people of my hometown.

What’s next for the group?

 We’re off to Colombia, than we’re touring Europe. We’ll be in the United States in June playing the Latin Alternative Music Conference in New York. We’ll still keep writing and creating while we travel.

What do you miss most from home when you’re away?

I miss the cheese. It’s really good!


Here’s the video for “De Donde Vengo Yo”: