When Bomba Estereo began a decade ago in Bogotá, audiences didn't quite know what to make of it. The group was combining some of the most traditional Colombian sounds with some of the most modern electronic sounds, and not everyone appreciated the idea.

The Colombian folkloric vocalist Totó la Momposina is considered a living, cultural treasure in that country. Since the 1970s, she has been singing and dancing to the music of the Colombian Caribbean coast on stages around the world.

It's harvest time in the coca fields of southern Colombia. Using his bare hands, Franklin Canacuan expertly strips the bright green leaves from his 5-foot-tall coca bushes.

Over the years, Colombian police planes have sprayed his fields with a powerful weed killer.

It's part of a government program to destroy coca leaves, which are used to make cocaine. Since it began in 1994, the program has received more than $2 billion in U.S. funding.

Now, due to health concerns, the Colombian government has decided to ground the spray planes.

eandres / Wikimedia Commons

The largest and most impressive festival in southern Colombia begins on January 2, and lasts almost a week. Dating back to antiquity, the “Black and White Carnival” has adapted and expanded over the centuries. Initially, the local indigenous population, the agrarian Quillacingas, would dance and sing at the end of the harvest to appease and honor the pagan gods.