'The Bomb My Nation Has Become'

Colombian Club Kids, Grooving at the Edge of Apocalypse

Intermundos founder Vanessa Gocksch says the scene is just waiting to explode. "Their capacity is so immense, on account of all the different cultures there," she says. "All it's lacking is an exit." In 2000,she made a Colombian hip-hop video, Testimonios Hip Hop Colombiano: Año 2000, which played in several film festivals in the States, and established a hip-hop information center in Bogotá's Casa de Cultura de Suba. "Here kids can copy the music, read the magazines and use the Internet, learn about underground hip-hop, and communicate. You can do a lot here without having any problems. The moment you have a problem—which is usually when they kill you—is when you really start changing things at a big level."

Politics is certainly the last thing on people's minds on the way to Saturday's after-party, as the car weaves through the pouring rain on a road through the mountains. Outside, it's pitch black, trees forbidding blobs in the dark. The driver fumbles with a CD, and Felix da Housecat's "My Life Muzik" fills the silence. Amid much mumbled cursing, he hits a dead end, backs up, and takes another road. Finally lights appear in the distance—a traffic jam in the middle of the forest. Ospina breathes a sigh of relief. They've arrived at the line for the after-party.

Inside the low-ceilinged, two-room shack, sweet-smelling smoke curls visibly through the open windows. The place is packed and sweaty, the vibe much more intense and visceral than in the club. Alcohol of all kinds is passed from mouth to mouth, joints lit and smoked with strangers. Oddly enough, the crowd far less indulgent than you might expect for an illegal venue in the center of cocaine country. The techno pumps and everyone dances, waiting for the superstar from the States to take over the decks. When Ospina finally goes on, several young girls surge forward, arms outstretched, their eyes shining.

As the sun slowly rises, a glorious scene meets weary eyes, fog receding slowly over the mountains, in its wake a twinkling emerald of a valley. Right here and now, there is peace and serenity, if only for tonight. Tomorrow, as they say, is another story.

Additional interviews and translation: Camila Gamboa

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