Coming to you all the way live from Bogotá, Colombia, Bomba Estéreo’s psychedelic cumbia mix creates a space where transcendent vibes and grooves meet up in oneplace. According to the band’s founder Simón Mejía, that was the artistic thrust behind “Amanecer,” the band’s GRAMMY-nominated album which has received rave reviews from NPR to Rolling Stone and Pitchfork to Billboard.
Bomba Estéreo is an international touring machine with recent dates on the world’s biggest stages. The group have toured across 40 countries,four continents and played major festivals like Glastonbury, Coachella, Austin City Limits, Lollapalooza, Outside Lands, Sonar, Roskilde, Vive Latino, among many others.
“Bomba Estéreo is a night out in a tropical dance club, but I like how we combined that with Liliana singing about very deep emotions about spirituality and change,” said the beat-maker/keyboardist Mejia. “Amanecer is a very luminous album, a very positive album.”
In a sense Amanecer is a logical progression from Bomba’s already established track record in fusing the electro-boogie/hiphop soundtrack of their millennial youth with the tropical folkloric legacy of their homeland’s elders. From their early success with their first hit single “Fuego”—a cumbia/house/hiphop/reggae jam–to the lush dance/pop grooves of 2013’s Elegancia Tropical, the band has been on an ever-evolving mission of hemispheric musical convergence.
Amanecer is Bomba’s first album for Sony, an extremely fruitful collaboration between Mejía, lead singer Liliana “Li” Samuet, and LA-based veteran producer Ricky Reed (Pitbull, Hason Derulo, Jesse J). “We liked the idea of working with someone who wasn’t really involved deeply with Latin music,” said Mejía. Reed’s collaboration with the band was seamless and organic, providing a new color and energy to the band’s sound. Li, who grew up inspired by equal parts of Colombian folklore, hiphop, Radiohead, and Bjork, felt Reed “made me do a lot of new things with melody and opened my mind a lot.”
From the hectic house of the title track to the EDM-meets-champeta anarchy of “Caderas,” “Soy Yo,” “Voy,” and “Fiesta,” this sleek new version of Bomba Estéreo ripples with the edgy tension of staying out to the wee hours on a dancefloor. “Fiesta,” the album’s first single is particularly explosive, with its catchy deconstruction of carnival
in the Caribbean port city of Barranquilla, a Mardi Gras party second only to Rio’s in intensity. Marching band drums n’ bass meet Li’s distorted vocals in a hallucinogenic dance of demonic disguises and party all night imperatives.
But Amanecer is no one-night stand. It’s an album that represents the culmination of so many years of experimentation and wild groove-swapping that has come to blossom in a strong, authentic international pop sound. It shows that no matter how much some people are obsessed with borders, these artificial divisions are unraveling as we speak, and as we listen and dance to the global-identity sound of Bomba Estereo.