The purpose of this essay is twofold: to celebrate the astonishing richness and diversity of Colombia’s natural and human soundscapes, and to reconstruct the process through which my direct experience of those soundscapes has influenced my own creative work as a composer. Reflecting on a long personal and intellectual journey of discovery that plays out on many levels – musical, anthropological, aesthetical – helps bring to the fore important questions on music composition as the locus of cultural appropriation and reinterpretation. How far can the belief system of a distant culture travel before it loses its meaning? From a post-colonial perspective, can a European composer justify the use and repurposing of ideas, sounds and songs from marginalised indigenous communities? In trying to give an answer to these questions through the lens of my own experience I keep unravelling layer upon layer of complexity, in a fascinating game of mirrors where my own identity as a "Western" composer starts crumbling away.