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Colombian singer and composer Esther Forero Celis (1919 – 2011), better known as Estercita Forero or "La Novia de Barranquilla" (Barranquilla’s Darling), was considered an ambassador of Colombian music to the world. She shared the folkloric themes and genres of her Caribbean "costeño" (coastal) music, especially the porro, on the international stage. Forero can be thought of in the same terms as seminal figures of Colombian tropical song such as Guillermo Buitrago, Rafael Escalona, Leonor González Mina, Matilde Díaz and the like. Little Estercita began singing in public at the early age of four in her home city of Barranquilla, making her debut on the airwaves at fourteen on the "La Voz de Barranquilla" radio station. 

Throughout her life, Forero sang in homage to her native land in a charming and beguiling way that was often filled with nostalgia and alternating emotions of joy and sorrow. She also was somewhat of an amateur ethnomusicologist, often researching and collecting local material for her repertoire. People refer to her affectionately as "Esthercita" to this day, and it’s no exaggeration to say that her repertoire is part of the nation’s collective imagination, being integral to constructing the notion of what "costeño" culture is and the ways in which it is deeply bound up with the identity of Barranquilla’s citizens who recognize and revere her compositions as popular anthems, especially in times of celebration.

-Pablo Yglesias

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