The Grammy nominated Colombian band Bomba Estéreo released their long-awaited, NPR-cosigned “much-anticipated,” and Pitchfork’s ‘most anticipated’ ‘Deja’ album last year – listen here – their first in 4 years, divided into four sections that correspond to the earth’s four elements (Agua, Aire, Tierra, and Fuego), and mixed by Damian Taylor (Björk, Arcade Fire). 

Deja‘ is divided conceptually into four sections that correspond to the earth’s four elements: Agua, Aire, Tierra, and Fuego. “The album is about the connection and disconnection of human beings—from the planet, from one’s own self,” Li says. “It’s about how we’re disconnected, more connected to electronic devices and virtual things than real things. So we decided to use the four elements, because they’re part of the equilibrium of human beings.” 

Bomba, whose core members are beatmaster/composer Simon and vocalist/lyricist Li, have been a major force in the alternative/Caribbeat/dance scene since 2010’s smash hit “Fuego.” Subsequent releases like Latin Grammy nominated ‘Elegancia Tropical’ (2013), Grammy nominated ‘Amanecer’ (2015), and Grammy nominated ‘Ayo‘ (2017) have put them at the forefront of influential hybrid-beat bands, as well as blowing up dancehalls from New York to Paris to Tokyo. 

Deja‘ is an album that transmits joy, loss, exhilaration, and sadness all at once. “Some heavy things are happening to the world and we have to share them,” Li says. “We made this album so you can dance to it at a club, but at the same time it has a profound meaning. It’s meant for you to dance perreo with a conscience.”

Here at Galore we had the pleasure to interview Bomba Estéreo’s Li Saumet and her dear friend Lido Pimienta who is also featured in the album ‘Deja’. We also hear a North American tour announcement is coming next week. Keep your eyes pealed!

To listen to the Grammy nominated album ‘Deja’ listen here 


Interview with Bomba Estéreo’s Li Saumet

We had an interview this time last year when you first released your album ‘Deja’. Since then you have been nominated for a Grammy. Of course this is not your first Grammy nomination (Latin Grammy-nominated ‘Elegancia Tropical’ (2013), Grammy-nominated ‘Amanecer’ (2015), and Grammy-nominated ‘Ayo’ (2017)) but are you surprised  ‘Deja’ received a Grammy nomination?

More than surprised: grateful and happy because we worked a lot on this album, not only in the music but also in the concept and artistically, trying to reach something different that could help people to escape their reality to enter other realities in a more positive way. Therefore, we have gratitude and happiness that this album, that is really important for us, and that intends to have so many good things and feelings, has been nominated to the Grammys.

Created in the peak of the pandemic, your album attempts to shrug off the dark cobwebs of a tumultuous year of uncertainty. Why was it important to reassure everyone that it’s going to be okay?

This is an important album because it mentions a moment that we are living in, but in a more comprehensive way, it doesn’t speak of a unique feeling but different feelings. The album talks about how to improve everything that is happening to the human being. It’s a healing album, spiritual, that also invites people to dance and doesn’t leave behind the dance and the rhythm. The lyrics have that intention. It’s a positive album, after all we have been through, it’s music that will lift you up with energy and happiness.

I feel like it was really beautiful how you express and manifest good feelings onto people through music, through mantras, feel good messages and all that, rather than the machismo or sexismo you may find in reggaeton. There’s way more to Latinx culture than reggaeton, and I feel like people often neglect that. Your music seems very intentional and does not exist on the binaries of reggaeton. What is your writing process like? Do you need to be in a specific writing environment? Do you need to have a spiritual practice? Does it vary?

This music was created in a natural scene, we made it close to my home in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (Colombia) and it has the energy of the jungle, the Sierra and the nature. It brings the vibes of those places and also is able to transfer our creation. I feel that the places where the music is created give it an upgrade, conjoined with the healing lyrics that come from places of connection. It’s been a process from the gut, honest, with intention and fluidity. We came together, in a magical place to create this music

I feel very connected to your music, especially this album. It is very evident that it is art for art’s sake, and not to please an industry or a machista narrative. What hidden messages do you hope to convey in your album?

We want the people to feel empowerment, balance, and understand the balance between feminine and masculine, made from a feminine perspective, my perspective. For me, women will always need words of strength and empowerment, since unfortunately we live in a macho macho society. This album is made for everyone, women, men, girls, boys, every gender, every race, for everyone. It’s made for human beings. Beings that are in a constant spiritual evolution that need to reach their place. This music is for that, it beams positivism.

In the song “Deja” you say “Deja de decir que no eres más, que no puedes más, que no eres nada” it is clear that you aim to uplift your listeners; why is this important to do as an artist?

Deja is that song that invites us to awaken and realize that sometimes the things that happen to us are in our minds. Unfortunately we are living in depressive moments. This is a song about that. For us as artists, it is our responsibility to uplift our fans, I think that is a big responsibility of writers, musicians, authors. If you are writing, write about something that would be useful for the people. This is a “mantra” song, the message is repeated several times, it has a big responsibility. Being a “mantra” means that at some point, what you are repeating will happen, what you are singing is going to be reflected on the society and that has to be something positive.   

How did you meet Lido Pimienta? What strengthens your friendship? What was it like to work on this project together?

I met Lido a long time ago, in the music scene. A few years ago she invited me to participate in her album “Miss Colombia” and in that moment we created a strong friendship because we have a lot of things in common. We are women, mothers, women in the industry. We understand each other in several aspects. We are there for each other.

-What does Latinx solidarity mean to you?

Solidarity is love, it’s to be there for each other, give a hand, to think that there are a lot of us in this world and that we are connected and in that perspective be willing to help each other. Acknowledge that we are not alone and that applies to every race, ethnicity or gender.

-If you could create your own festival, who would you want to perform with? Would you make it a point to represent the diversity and nuances of Latinx identity?

I have my own festival, where I have had the opportunity to bring several bands from around the world. We have made a nice curating process from people around the world.  It has been a really beautiful process and we have had the opportunity to bring very interesting projects to the Colombian Caribbean coast. We have the festival every year.

Interview with Lido Pimienta

How did you meet Li Samuet? 

Liliana knew me as a tween in Barranquilla, when I used to be in hardcore bands. She would see me in the scene as the little girl that would sing strangely. Later in life, we saw each other again in Mexico City and as her project grew and mine started to take off, she always showed me love and support.

What strengthens your friendship? 

We are each other’s strength.

What was it like to work on this project together?

Like baking a cake with your sister that you love with your full heart that you don’t get to see too often, so when you do, you simply take advantage of all of the time you’ve got together. Liliana travels to Canada and we work in my studio. We create songs very naturally, and when we finished working on music in my studio, I went to Colombia to help with their recording in their studio there. We travel a lot to be able to be together and support one another. 

What does Latinx solidarity mean to you?

It means that Black and Indigenous people are not left out of the conversation revolving around the ‘sudden’ success of our communities due to mainstream music having a few mega stars in the scene. The music that is taking over the world right now is BLACK music, but somehow the biggest representatives or the highest paid ones in the industry are not Black nor do they share any ancestry with Black or Indigenous peoples of the territory. So without the active inclusion, collaboration and representation of what Central and South America looks, feels and tastes like, we cannot talk about Solidarity in our territories. 

If you could create your own festival, who would you want to perform with? Would you make it a point to represent the diversity and nuances of Latinx identity?

There is so much music out there that is so exciting and wonderful, this is a no brainer – spoiler alert: we would not have men dominating the bill…like what so often happens. It is really embarrassing actually for some of the festivals I see and even will participate in, where I am one of the few women performing as the artist.

My line up for my festival would be true to the music I actually listen to. I don’t really listen to the radio, but I try to keep up with mainstream, and I have a love for African diasporic music, as well as Andean music, and Indigenous music to many lands, from the Saharan desert to Patagonia, Cape Verde and Senegal, Central America and West Indies…I would need a 4-day festival to fit in all of the music. The links and threads between so-called Latinx and all of the places I’ve mentioned share blood, a drum and a flute. It would be glorious, actually it WILL BE glorious: I will make it happen one day!


Interviewed and Edited by SHIRLEY REYNOZO @moyamusic_

Photographer: Camila Falquez – @camilafalquez

Cover Edit: Carlos Graciano

Art Director: Orly Anan –  @orlyanan

Styling: @lorenamazastyling @deliciastudio_

Li Saumet’s red dress : Costume Designer: Elit Rue @elit_rue

Assistants: @bxwebb25 @al.bertfg @rchlksslr

Make Up  @ehlieluna 

Hair  Suzy Álvarez

Publicist  Jordan Frazes @frazescreative

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