Bomba Estéreo are known for their deadly electro-tropical sound, mixing cumbia and funk with Afro-Colombian beats, which they dub “Electro Vacilón.” Based in Bogotá, this quartet is named after the sound systems found at local parties. The project was put together by Bomba’s bassist and bandleader Simón Mejía and has gained a significant following since they formed in 2005. Bomba Estéreo’s second album, Estalla, received rave reviews and was re-released in the US under the title Blow Up. This gave the energetic ensemble the chance to perform at South by Southwest, Bonnaroo, Lovebox and Bumbershoot in 2010 as well as Coachella and Austin City Limits in 2011.
Now Bomba Estéreo are back with their latest album, Elegancia Tropical, on Soundway Records. The record is filled with traditional elements and a fresh approach, mixing chicha and champeta music with dancehall grooves and ambient electronics. Their unique mix is striking with Liliana Saumet’s powerful and sensual voice flowing over their catchy arrangements. Adding to the global Caribbean aspect of this album are special guests MC BNegao from Brazil and Buraka Som Sistema from Portugal. While the band continues to adapt their sound, Bomba Estéreo still draws plenty of inspiration from Colombia’s coastal music. Mejía believes it’s important to bring traditional music into the 21st century.
“The music that is made by the old people on the Caribbean and Pacific Coasts connects Colombia to Africa very deeply. We start from that music and take it to another level. We try to rescue that music. It’s getting blurry, with time, and with the impact of commercial radio and popular culture. The old-school players are aging and dying. We are trying to make their music, their art, more visible.” – Simón Mejía