Emiliano Zuleta, legendary figure of Colombian vallenato music, dies at 93

Legendary vallenato musician Emiliano Zuleta died Sunday after a long fight with respiratory problems, one of his children said. He was 93.

Zuleta wrote the song "La gota fria" or "The cold drop," perhaps the best known song of the vallenato genre, a style of accordian-driven folk music.

Carmen Zuleta, one of his 16 children, said her father's illness worsened after the death of her mother Carmen earlier this year. "This provoked within him a sense of nostalgia," she told local El Tiempo newspaper.

A Colombian songwriter and accordion player, Zuleta died in Valledupar, a city 660 kilometers (410 miles) north of Bogota known as the birthplace of vallenato music.

"He planted the seeds of this folk music that today is heard throughout the country and the world," said Rafael Escalon, a fellow vallenato musician from Zuleta's era.

Among the many musicians who sang covers of "La gota fria" was Carlos Vives, a Colombia singer who mixes pop music with vallenato. He released the song in 1994, and it gave him his first smash hit and made the song well known around the world, AP reported. V.A.

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