Puerta de Oro de Colombia Courtesy of HistoryMiami Museum. Photo of Puerta de Oro de Colombia posing on steps.

Puerta de Oro de Colombia, which translates to “Golden Gate of Colombia,” lives up to its name as a portal to Colombia’s rich and diverse culture. Founded in 2008 in Miami by Rosmy Camargo of Baranquilla, Colombia, the group has since grown to roughly 40 members dedicated to preserving traditional music and dance from Colombia and the Caribbean coast. The members represent diverse Latin American backgrounds and cultures.

Puerta de Oro de Colombia’s mission is “rompiendo fronteras,” or breaking borders. They take this mission seriously, proving that there are no geographical borders in the way of expressing traditions and sharing cultural heritage.

This group performs a wide variety of dances, including the cumbia, bambuco, currulao and vallenato, to name a few. Their costumes also showcase their Colombian roots, with long, wide, multi-layered skirts of various colors and the sombrero vueltiao, a hat that has become a national symbol of Colombia. The instruments they dance to come from both African and indigenous traditions, including maracas, flutes and the “tambor alegre” (happy drum). Puerta de Oro de Colombia regularly performs with El Grupo Barrio Abajo, a Miami-based band that plays Colombian music.

Camargo believes that sharing music and culture can make the world a better place and help teach mutual understanding. To live up to this goal, Puerta de Oro de Colombia performs and teaches in a wide variety of contexts, including radio and television broadcasts and live performances. They are regulars at the Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations of southern Florida and often teach workshops in dance and the history of the Carnival of Barranquilla for the Miami-Dade Public Libraries. The group served as the Artist-in-Residence at HistoryMiami from September through December 2018.