Aimed at the dancefloor Bomba EstÃ©reo are a new act from Bogota taking Colombian roots music and updating it in the 21st century. Using electronica and dub stylings plugged into Afro-Caribbean rhythms such as cumbia, champeta and bullerengue, they deliver electro-folklore to a new audience with their new album Blow Up and they dropped into Dublin to show off their sound last Friday night.
The Button Factory was far from full as the Colombian five-piece took to the stage. Opening with a sampled electronic soundscape backed by experimental projections (all filmed by up and coming Colombian video artists) onto a backdrop, Bomba EstÃ©reo immediately dispersed any pre-conceptions to their sound. Within minutes of starting the first song proper the dance floor was full and grooving. This was largely to do with the infectious tropical styles and club beats but mostly it was the appearance of the enchanting singer Liliana Saumet.
Bomba EstÃ©reo began in 2005 as a one-man studio effort by producer and guitarist Simon Mejia but the addition of singer Liliana Saumet transformed it into something special.
The colourful galloping grooves are spiked with doses of hip-hop, dub, and champeta and Mejia manipulates his guitar to produce an alternating mix of viscous textures and rhythmic reinforcement while Saumet’s vocals hold everything together. She has a forceful, full-throated attack; she can rap with rhythmic ingenuity, nonchalantly juggling American hip-hop, reggaeton, and dancehall, but she can also sing passionately, nailing melodies with impressive pitch control and emotional snap.
Looking at Saumet on stage its hard not to think of Lovefoxxx, Amanda Blank or even Karen O, not so much as how they may have influenced her, but rather the other way around if they were ever see her perform. Similarily Mejia’s guitarmanship and the band’s melting pot of sound is truly insipirational.
This is one of the most alternative acts State has seen for some time. Bomba EstÃ©reo were brought to Dublin by Groovalizacion, a collection of musicians, artists, video producers, DJs and journalists with a HQ in Dublin and active members based in London, Lisbon, Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona, Buenos Aires and Kansas City. Groovalizacion hope to bring further acts to Dublin, for fans of a genuinely alternative and markedly different live experiences lets hope they do.