Bomba Estereo, a dynamic duo primarily composed of lead female singer Liliana Saumet and keyboardist/bassist Simón Mejía, should be listened to regardless of how much of your high school Spanish you managed to retain.
It’s almost impossible for me to stop and pick my favorite song from the album Amanecer – The entire album is off the chain, an energetic fiesta of pomp, amor, hype, tropical beats, and spice. Pitchfork is a little more critical of Bomba Estereo than me, clearly they’re a bit miffed that Bomba put out more of a poppy, EDM-inspired album. Their previous three albums are certainly bass-heavy, helping to establish the electro-cumbia scene of tropical elegance, but I get the sense that Pitchfork thinks they’ve sold out a bit.
Well, being that this was the first introduction I had to Bomba Estereo, I could experience no so such pretentious miffs. If Taylor Swift can morph styles, why can’t Bomba??
Some of the songs featured on Amanacer are an homage hermosa to the tropical beaches/vibes/lifestyle of Santa Marta, Colombia, a mashup of cumbia/champeta/pop/reggae/electronic. For wistful, nostalgic guitar strums and Caribbean beats, listen to Mar (Lo Que Siento), To My Love. For breakups with your latino lover, I recommend Somos Dos and Algo Está Cambiando. OH. And Raiz for waking up to the natural rays of sol beaming into your casita frente al mar.
Li sings and raps and laughs her way through a mix of tracks and color that make you want to sway in a hammock on the coast or get so far down low in a sweaty Cartagena discoteca. Her strong and raspy voice gives her a range of sounds, similar to the bands beats. The songs to get down to off the album are definitely Caderas (literally “Hips”, and you know what other famous Colombians do with those), Voy, and Fiesta. Even Will Smith got in on the Fiesta action.
I usually end up just jumping up and down to the song “Amanecer” rather than getting down. I think it’s my favorite – It’s both dazzling and nostalgic, but also makes you wanna grab someone, get out of your chair, and feel it together. The song evokes for me a mix of wistful yearning to be back down traveling around South America and soaking up the sounds of a land so sizzling, while at the same time wanting to jump all around the room waiting for “Caderas” to come on next.
I will end this by declaring the Bomba concert I went to last year in SF was hands down the greatest show I have ever been to in my life.