Seven Spots for Foreign Music in Denver

The most obvious way to find the different ethnicities represented in Denver's population, from Italian to Vietnamese to Mexican, is in our wide variety of restaurants. (Westword food editor Mark Antonation has dedicated an entire series to ethnic food in Denver.) But why not treat your stomach and your ears to something new?

Below is our guide, arranged in alphabetical order, to some of the best places to hear music in Denver that might be foreign to our Western ears.

Africana Cafe
5091 East Colfax Avenue, Denver, CO 80220

Africana regularly hosts Ethiopian musicians, though calling ahead is a must to find out who's playing on any given night, as there is no weekly or monthly schedule on its website.

Club Galaxy
2025 Clinton Street, Aurora, CO 80010

This nightclub in northwest Aurora regularly hosts live Spanish musicians who specialize in banda, norteño, corrido, movimiento altrado, cumbia, ranchero and more. Check Club Galaxy's Facebook page for event announcements.

Holly Grocery
5602 East Colfax Avenue, Denver, CO 80220

Though this is a grocery store, be sure to ask the proprietor about Ethiopian cassettes, as he usually has several on hand for purchase. He'll also suggest where to find more. 

Mex Mall
10809 East Colfax Avenue, Aurora, CO 80010

This miniature mall hosts vendors of various goods, including hats, footwear, clothing, food and electronics. But toward the back is the music vendor, who specializes in banda, norteño, corrido, movimiento altrado, cumbia and ranchero.

Modern Boutique Inc.
1011 South Federal Boulevard, Denver, CO 80219

At Modern Boutique Inc., you'll find a good deal of movies from Asia, as well as popular music from various countries in the continent and information on interesting events happening around town. 

Russian Books
970 South Monaco Parkway, Denver, CO 80224

Along with the largest selection of Russian-language books in the city, Russian Books also carries an extensive inventory of Russian music, from pop to EDM, rock, folk, hip-hop — you name it. Of note is a large selection of releases from Russian record label Moroz, which reissued an extensive line of Soviet-era psychedelic rock, heavy metal, punk, prog rock and pop.

V2 Event Center/Viet's Restaurant
333 South Federal Boulevard, Unit #125, Denver, CO 80219

V2 Event Center, the venue next to Viet's Restaurant, hosts semi-regular live-music events featuring primarily Vietnamese-language pop artists.

BONUS: Get a head start and listen to some Ethiopian music, below.

PortSaid's Ethiopian Cassette Mix by Obsoletefuture on Mixcloud

Port Said's Ethiopian Cassette Mix Volume 2 by Obsoletefuture on Mixcloud

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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.