Interview: Bomba Estereo’s Li Saumet, A Legacy in a New Language [COL]

Read more

Love it or hate it, Elegancia Tropical-–the second album by famed Bogotá electropical trailblazers Bomba Estéreo—signaled a new musical beginning for the band. The cumbia is still there, but it went a bit more toward the global dance floor route, and that’s mighty fine in my book. Their latest video for the single “Pure Love” is proof of that. It takes them from South America to the London club scene, where the magnetic Li Saumet sings to a varied crowd, makes a toughened-up dancer crump, and transmits Bob Marley’s “one love” message through the body-rocking thump that characterizes Bomba Estéreo’s style. It was very London appropriate that the beat to “Pure Love” had a lot in common with the early big beat of the Chemical Brothers.

In an interview with Remezcla, Saumet explained that they chose London as the setting for the video because of its all-around heterogeneity. “We liked London for ‘Pure Love’ because it’s such a diverse city and that’s what we wanted to portray; a universal love that everybody can share without regards to race or nationality,” she said. In fact, as far as Latino culture goes, London has been up and coming in the last few years as yet another cultural hub for South America and the Caribbean, hosting an array of music and film festivals, parties and conferences highlighting the different cultures of the region. While Saumet admits that she doesn’t know much about the alternative music scene, she does recognize that it’s been rapidly growing: “I have musician friends there, like Isa GT, who have paved a really interesting road over there.”

[insert-video youtube=RlzSSLN7lE4]

Apropos of the release of their new video-–with the equally sweet hashtag of #PureLove—we asked Saumet a few candid questions about the direction Bomba Estereo is taking, where she feels more comfortable and what her opinion is about the Paro Nacional Campesino in Colombia.

As an artist, where do you feel more comfortable: the stage or the studio?

I prefer the stage because when I’m performing, I get a lot of energy and it makes me happy to interact with the audience.

Do you think there are artists or bands following in Bomba Estéreo’s musical footsteps? Or have things not gotten to that level yet?

I don’t know, actually. We’ve seen a couple of people doing covers of our music and that’s interesting to us. I think that, at this moment, there are so many musicians playing and going on tour. Things have changed and roads have opened up for everyone.

How do you see your sound evolving, say, 10 years into Bomba Estéreo’s career?

I have no idea! We would have to have this conversation in ten years!

What do you want your legacy to be?

A great legacy would be to leave music in a new language that people can dance to and have fun. But we also want this music to be very rooted.

What’s your opinion on the Paro Nacional Campesino?

We totally support it. We don’t want a country as rich as Colombia, that was built by the farmers, to be torn down by damaging, free trade agreements.

Download Bomba Estéreo’s Elegancia Tropical below: