From Cartagena to Queens: Bazurto All Stars bring champeta music to Flushing Town Hall

The Bazurto All Stars band
The Bazurto All Stars band from Colombia will perform at Flushing Town Hall on Friday, Sept. 30. (Photo courtesy of Flushing Town Hall)

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, Flushing Town Hall will host the Bazurto All Stars, known as the Latin “party machine,” from Cartagena, Colombia, bringing the energy of champeta music to the venue on Friday, Sept. 30. 

“We serve a substantial Colombian audience at Flushing Town Hall, and we also attract global music lovers who are excited to discover new bands and new sounds in our theater. This ensemble is sure to thrill everyone,” said Ellen Kodadek, executive and artistic director at Flushing Town Hall. “Don’t miss this opportunity to see them live and dance the night away!” 

The band will present a champeta workshop ahead of its concert for audiences interested in learning the basics of the music and dance style native to Colombia.

The performance begins at 8 p.m., and the workshop, which is free with concert tickets, will take place at 7 p.m.

Champeta is a musical genre and dance that originated on the Caribbean coast of Colombia in the early 1980s. The Bazurto All Stars have created their own distinctive sound which comes from the mixing of African champeta, folkloric and electronic music, cumbia, vallenato, reggae, ska and even symphonic music. 

The band has dubbed this special fusion “la champeta universal” or “universal champeta,” because it has allowed champeta to cross social, cultural and language barriers and adapt to a variety of musical styles. 

The Bazurto All Stars are known for their string of hits and top-ranking songs on Colombian radio like “La Manguera,” “El Bololo,” “Me Falla El Wifi,” “La Reina Del Baile” and “La Pupileta.” 

The last of those, “La Pupileta,” became 2016’s official song of the Carnaval of Barranquilla (the largest celebration after Rio) and one of the most recognized songs in Colombia at that time, breaking all of the rules and expectations within the genre to reach new markets.

Since 2009, the band’s music has told the story of daily life in the working-class neighborhoods of Cartagena, the epicenter for the colors, tastes and sounds of Africa and the Caribbean. Known as the “Maquina de la Sabrosura Pura” (or “Pure Party Machine”) and the best champeta band in Colombia, Bazurto All Stars’ ensemble of seven musicians brings a show that is explosive, full of energy and great for dancing. The band was awarded the prestigious Congo de Oro from the Carnaval of Barranquilla in 2016, 2018 and 2019, along with the Premio Shock in 2016.

In-person tickets for the show are $18, or $12 for members, seniors and students.