"Let us, then, be up and doing, With a heart for any fate; Still achieving, still pursuing, Learn to labor and to wait" -Longfellow

Monday, April 1, 2013

Show Tease: Bomba Estéreo, Échale! (4.5)

Bomba Estéreo: Julian Salazar, Liliana Saumet, Simón Mejía, Kike Egurrola. Photo by Rafael Piñeros - Mulato Films

SHOW: Échale! - Bomba Estéreo w/ M.A.K.U. Sound System @ Pearl Brewery, FRI 4.5.13, 7 PM
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In the music of Bomba Estéreo the sounds of the Amazon blend with the din of the sometimes happy human apocalypse, the hope of the futuristic meets the yellow softness of the Earth's aboriginal delight. These elements are embodied in the sonic flourish of the music as well as in the singular voice of singer Liliana Saumet — now gently searching like a stretch just reaching the sweet spot, now rapid and coy like the enraged spirit of a flower caught between the fright of consciousness and beautiful numb bliss. This is cumbia, this is dance, this is tropical, this is city, this is heart, this is sky... This is one if the best bands in the world right now, playing their wonderful new album Elegancia Tropical, and you can catch them for free right on the banks of the Riverwalk, among the flowers in the shadow of a dead brewery.

I asked Bomba Estéreo founder, producer and bassist Simon Mejia a few questions in anticipation of the upcoming Échale! performance. Here are those questions and Simon's thoughtful responses.

1. The music of Bomba Estéreo has been subtly expanding and morphing over the years. As a band, where do you all look for inspiration? How organic and how conscious are the changes and to what extent does your ever-growing audience play a part?
In my personal case the inspiration comes from different places, can be music I hear, a live performance I see, a movie, an old record, even a place...but usually it comes when I'm working some sound or some beat inspires me for the next one and then I develop the whole track. It's the very best moment of creation I think when the music just rides for itself and you are just there putting the color to it. Playing live and having the great opportunity to meet different places and people also gives you a perspective, in our case, of looking at the traditional Colombian music from a different angle. This is what basically happened with Elegancia.

2. How are the songwriting duties divided in Bomba Estéreo? Are both music and lyrics collaborative
processes or do each of the band members tend to have set roles?
It always starts with the music. A beat, a synth or guitar line, a bass line...then we develop it into a track, then the vocals make it a song finally. Usually I start the process, but in some other cases Julian [Salazar] comes in with a synth line or a guitar line also.

3. What is the significance of the title Elegancia Tropical? And to what extent do you consider decisions like titles important?
It's our new way of looking at the Caribbean! A different perspective, a new stage in our music and our life. In Colombia the term elegancia is used also to mention when something is "cool," so it's like the cool tropic. We like to use popular and kitsch aesthetics in our music and language.

4. As a band with growing worldwide influence, what message would you send to the aspiring music maker in a corner of the globe that maybe doesn't get the attention it deserves?
I think the most important thing is to be honest with the music you're making. Make the music you want to make, not what the market wants. And also work as twice as hard, art is a difficult one, maybe more difficult than any other.

5. What are your impressions of the San Antonio? Any favorite and/or least favorite aspects or places?
Sure we think San Antonio is a great city! We've had great shows over there and this one we hope is the best. Our favorite hotel in the world is in San Antonio, it's called Hotel Havana, if I'm not wrong.

6. Lastly, what can we expect from your upcoming performance? Any new live configurations or significant developments since you were last here?
Yes, sure, we're making the show just for Elegancia. It's a new set of songs, a new set of videos and new set of sounds! Hope people enjoy it! We're giving away all [our] energy!

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