For an event that is only four years old, the quality of Festival Hermoso Ruido’s talent booking has grown exponentially every year running. Drawing in a veritable smorgasbord of international musical riches, and spotlighting some of the best and brightest emerging local talent, the festival is rapidly establishing itself as Colombia’s can’t-miss indie affair.
Unlike big outdoor fests Estéreo Picnic or the canceled first edition of Lollapalooza Colombia, Hermoso Ruido takes place in local bars, restaurants, concert halls, record stores, and anywhere it’s safe to play music and dance. The smaller scale of the shows provides a great opportunity to see indie performers, both foreign and local, up close.
It should come as no surprise that the out-of-town talent is off the charts with the likes of Porter, Jesse Baez, Kali Mutsa, Diosque, I Can Chase Dragons, and Mateo Kingman all set to deliver stellar shows over Hermoso Ruido’s three-day span. For this festival preview, we’ve decided to give some shine to homegrown artists you should definitely catch in Bogotá.
We also curated a special playlist for all your festival prep needs. Stream it via Apple Music below.
Buenas Noches is the buzzy synth pop project of Pablo Escallón, the once frontman of Bogotá-based band Planes (Estudios Universales). Escallón decided to relocate to Mexico City in early 2015 to pursue a solo career and in doing so, decided to explore a more versatile and manageable way of making music on his own. Buenas Noches’ music is fun and poppy with romantic lyrics and a touch of psychedelia, like an essential missing link between New Order and Diosque. Though Buenas Noches has yet to release an album, you can find a number of his songs on Spotify. “Cazú (Minas de Sal)” was the singer’s beautiful solo debut, which featured dreamy background vocals from Ela Minus. His latest production, “Todos Los Ríos Fueron Al Mar,” is an atmospheric, upbeat meditation on life and its mysteries.
Buenas Noches is part of a number of Colombian synth pop bands that will be killing it at Hermoso Ruido this weekend, including Swimz and Vilamarea. Escallón has been back and playing shows in Bogotá since August, making his Friday, September 16 show at Cine Tonalá an unmissable part of his homecoming, as he shares the bill with Kali Mutsa, Diosque, and Peru’s Gala Brie.
Zyderal is a production power duo comprised of Argentine singer-composer Delfina Dib and Colombian composer-producer Camilo Zuñiga. The Bogotá-based band is making swaggy dance music that pulls influences from trip hop and dancehall. On top of their lush compositions, Delfina Dib brings tremendous star quality into the mix with a voice that exudes power and a growl that doubles the intensity of her raps.
Zyderal has spent the last two years building a following, gigging regularly and putting out polished new songs on their SoundCloud every few months. Tracks “Invisible” and “Paso a Paso” are instant standouts, weaving cool tropical bounce through the band’s layered electronic arrangements and Dib’s natural MC swagger. It’s almost as if Bomba Estéreo’s Li Saumet fronted Portishead. The band is currently working on their debut album Elemental, which, according to their social media pages, is expected to see the light sometime before the end of the year. Zyderal will be playing Friday, September 16 at La Tora 4 Brazos, closing out a set also featuring Chile’s Rubio, and Mexico’s I Can Chase Dragons.
Cero39 is the groovy brainchild of Mauricio Alvarez, and part of Colombia’s tremendously diverse production landscape. In 2007, Alvarez spent a year traveling through the Colombian countryside, along the Magdalena River to the Atlantic Ocean, eventually reaching the northern city of Barranquilla. The people and sounds he encountered along his travels are the foundation from which Cero 39 became one of the country’s most innovative sound factories. The project is a collective effort, with twin brothers Boris and Juan Ramos Ríos keeping beats in check on bass and drums, and Victor Carrascal and Kid Watusi working on programming and sequencing. Their most recent album Moni Moni proves there is no one sound to Cero39. A song like “Nuqui On The Blog” delivers Chancha via Circuito-esque jungle serenity, where as “El Vacile De la Nevera” is a sweaty, Caribbean booty jam. Cero39 will be setting things off on Saturday, September 17 at Casa CD Baby, opening up the night for Los Crema Paraiso and Boom Full Meke.
Founded in 2013 by Juan Felipe Ochoa and Angela Pizarro, Surcos make sweet-hearted indie pop with a strong folk flair. The band describes their sound as “accidental folk,” and cites the rhythm of the rain, children’s laughter, and the beauty of every day life as their biggest inspirations. True hippies at heart, Surcos started to make a name for themselves by busking around Bogotá, polishing their sound and honing their performance skills. In February, they released their first single and video for “Irme a Dormir,” an emotional yet peppy little pop gem, and have already begun working on their first EP, though there is plenty more music currently available on their SoundCloud. Surcos will be playing Thursday, September 15 at Armando Music Hall, sharing a bill with impressive talent like Porter, Los Pirañas, and fellow local indie folk songstress Angelika Molina.
Originally from Cali, this kickass MC is bringing some Afro-Latina realness to the week’s proceedings. Cynthia Montaño is proud and reps hard for her Afro-Caribbean roots, incorporating traditional marimba percussion into her songs and rapping about race, gender, and inequality. Her song “Chontaduro” is an ode to all things black, Caribbean, and beautiful, while “Excusas” featured Dominican MC Arianna Puello as an earth-shaking anthem for women trapped in abusive relationships.
Montaño isn’t just talk. In her home city of Cali, she was involved in a school initiative to promote respect and dignity for LGBTQ youth. When she came under fire from homophobic politicians, she responded, “This controversy is rooted in particular political interests looking to question our mayor’s candidacy. Neither I, nor my son, nor the students from all 10 schools included in this project have changed our sexual orientation. On the contrary, we have learned to respect the rights of others, and that is the kind of respect missing in Colombian society.”
Cynthia Montaño will be performing Friday, September 16 at the aptly named La Negra, playing alongside fellow local hip-hop acts Malalma and Zalama Crew.