The new single “Como Lo Pedi” features a collaboration with the iconic Mexican songwriter Leonel Garcia. The song was produced by Trooko, who has worked with artists ranging from M.I.A. to Residente Calle 13. “I made about 10 different versions of this song—I wanted to get it perfect,” singer Liliana “Li” Saumet says. “So I thought of Leonel. In two days, he sent me an incredible idea! Super-profound lyrics, incredible voice. I imagine someone in a disco listening to that song and falling in love at the same time.”
The album ‘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 explains. “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.”
The recent single “Conexión Total,” is a collaboration with Nigerian superstar Yemi Alade. “Collaborating with Yemi is a huge honor as our music has been deeply inspired by Africa in all senses since we started,” says Bomba Estereo’s founder Simon Mejia. “Colombia’s folk music owes a lot to the mother continent, that powerful mix of African drums and marimbas, with indigenous flutes and chants is the base of the incredible soundscape of this country. Yemi is a great artist and has an amazing voice. We’re really happy to keep on extending the cultural and ancestral ties that bond Africa with South America.“
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.
For ‘Deja,’ Simón and Li wanted to make the album more of a “community” effort. Simon found increasing chemistry playing live shows with guitarist José Castillo and the folkloric percussion of Efrain “Pacho” Cuadrado. Li recruited her longtime friend Lido Pimienta for the session – the pair’s previous collaboration “Nada” ended up on President Obama’s “Best of 2020” playlist.
“I wanted to collaborate with Lido to try new sounds with my voice,” Li explains. “She has that underground edge that I like, and she also invited some Cuban collaborators with her, a duo named OKAN. It was beautiful to have more women with me, I felt more supported, safer and at ease.”
This time, the band decided to self-produce the album (outside of a couple of invited guest producers like Trooko) and constructed a makeshift studio in Li’s home in Santa Marta. “We all wound up there and we made an album that has some of the best of classic Bomba, like ‘Elegancia Tropical,’ and a lot of new composing elements that José and Pacho brought,” Simon said. The pandemic’s delaying effects also gave the band plenty of time to produce and mix ‘Deja‘ with a major assist from Damian Taylor, known for his work with Björk and Arcade Fire.
‘Deja‘ is one of those albums that, even in its disparate sections, forms a unity. It’s 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.”
- Como lo Pedi (feat. Leonel Garcia)
- Se Acabó
- Conexión Total (feat. Yemi Alade)
- Amor Amor
- Mamo Manuel Nieves (Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta)