Bomba Estéreo is ready for the big time. Nearly 10 years after the Colombian electro-tropical outfit started making noise in the Bogotá club scene (and then popped up on music lists galore), singer Liliana Saumet and multi-instrumentalist Simon Mejía are now veterans of the global festival circuit. So it’s only right that for the band’s fourth album, Amanecer (due June 2), they would take things up a notch — and we’re not just talking bpm.
Indie and self-contained from the get-go, Bomba was recently signed to a major, Sony Music Latin, which paired them up with a new producer, Ricky Reed, of the genre-mashing California group Wallpaper, whose credits also include JasonDerulo‘s “Wiggle” and Pitbull‘s “Fireball.”
The result is an album that is still very much Bomba to the core, but it also makes room for new influences. Recorded between the band’s headquarters in Bogotá and Reed’s home studio in Los Angeles, Amanecer should get them more airplay and even more gigs on the world stage. Take the lead single “Fiesta,” a party anthem dripping with bass and champeta that’s as much of an homage to the carnivals of their homeland as they’ve ever recorded, but it’s also a nod to Kwaito, an African genre of music fusing hip-hop, house, reggae, and traditional African rhythms.
For some, an eight-year hiatus from the music industry can mean total extinction. For BMI songwriter Carlos Vives, it meant exactly the opposite: a rebirth. The 51-year-old Colombian superstar’s formidable comeback in 2013 is a testament to his timeless sound, his growth as a songwriter and his newfound love for life and music.
Flashback to 2004, and Vives was one of Colombia’s hottest musical exports, along with his compatriots (and fellow BMI members) Shakira and Juanes. The work that he and his band, La Provincia, started in 1994 on his breakthrough album of vallenato standards with a modern twist, Clasicos de la Provincia (Classics From the Province), was finally paying off in a big way. He had a GRAMMY under his belt, he could easily sell out arenas across the United States as well as abroad and the sound he created – tropical pop or tropi-pop for short – dominated the airwaves. Life at home was equally great; Vives was happily married with two kids.
But things took a turn that same year. His marriage to Puerto Rican actress, Herlinda Gomez, dissolved and his longtime contract with EMI came up for renewal. When a deal couldn’t be reached, the label let their option expire. According toBillboard, this may have had something to do with the fact that the label was undergoing ownership and management changes around the same time – among other factors. When his management at the time failed to reach a new deal with another record label, Vives retreated from the spotlight in his home country, played the occasional local concert, created children’s music and opened up a nightclub. Happily married to former Miss Colombia Claudia Elena Vasquez, he expanded his family while also writing and producing for other acts. Nearly a decade later, with music industry veteran Walter Kolm as his new manager and Vasquez as his closest advisor, Vives is hotter than ever. Under a new record deal with Sony Music Latin, Vives released his latest album, Corazon Profundo (Deep Heart), in April 2013. The work debuted atop Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart led by the hit single, “Volvi a Nacer” (Born Again). Add to that his recent stint on the Colombian TV edition of The Voice and a worldwide tour that kicks off this month in Panama, and it’s safe to say Vives is back. BMI chatted with Vives via phone about his big comeback, just weeks before he kicked off his tour.
There was only one good reason to trek it from Los Angeles to Bakersfield, CA this past Friday night: I got a backstage VIP pass to the kick-off concert to Juanes’ highly anticipated 2013 “Loud and Unplugged” summer tour.
Without exaggerating, I can say that Juanes and his bandmates – Rafael Sandoval on the sax, Edilberto Lievano on the trombone, Orlando Barreda on the trumpet, Juan Pablo Daza and Fernando Tobon on guitar, Felipe Navia on bass, Felipe Alzate and Richard Bravo on percussion, Waldo Madera on drums, and Emmanuel Briceño on the keyboard – have never sounded tighter.
For one, Juanes has never toured with a full horn section. Then again, if you’ve listened to Juanes’ MTV Unplugged album you know that he has strived for (and undoubtedly reached) a new level of musicianship. El maestro Juan Luis Guerra (who executive produced the Unplugged album) had a little something to do with that.
Whatever you do, don’t miss the chance to check Juanes out when he comes your way (peep the tour dates here).
And if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to experience a Juanes show from the inside, this should give you an idea …
Check out the photos on Fusion (ABC/Univision), where this story was originally published.
Latin Grammys are just as much about the music as they are about the fashion, so we snuck into one of our favorite band’s room to see which looks they’re going to be rocking this week in Las Vegas.
Colombian hip-hop group ChocQuibTown, beloved at home in Choco and all around Latin America, is nominated in three categories this year – Album of the Year (Eso Es Lo Que Hay), Record of the Year (“Calentura,” featuring Tego Calderon and Zully Murillo), and Best Alternative Music Album.
But they’re not exactly new at this Latin Grammy thing. In 2009, they were up for Best New Artist, and they won Best Alternative Song in 2010 for “De Donde Vengo Yo.”
The band’s Colombian pride manifests itself strongly in the fashion choices of its lead singer Gloria Martinez (a.k.a. Goyo), as we were able to see firsthand during our visit to her hotel room in Vegas. “It’s really important for me to support local designers,” Goyo told me yesterday, right before our Twitcam with the group. If you missed it, check out the full, unedited video here.
The trio of Goyo, her brother Slow, and her hubby Tostao, had so much fun answering fan questions on Twitter, and shared everything from their favorite foods to their dreams of a possible collaboration with Calle 13, and even breaking into an awesome acapella of “Hasta El Techo” (fast foward to minute 14:00 of the Twitcam video)!
But first, I got an exclusive look at Goyo’s wardrobe for the rest of the week. She makes the best dressed list in my book for all of her originality and support of local designers.
Check out the pics on Fusion (ABC/Univision), where this story was originally published.
Bomba Estereo’s Liliana Saumet is on the road a lot. As in, she’s not sure where she’s been in the last few days (San Francisco) or where she’s going next (home to Colombia). I caught up with the electro-tropical band’s vocalist during the L.A. stop of their Elegancia Tropical tour (check out their Tumblr for cool on-the-road photos). She happily showed me everything she travels with — from toiletries to lingerie.
Li kicks off my new column for Fusion called “What’s In Your Suitcase?” which is exactly what it sounds like, and something I’ll be doing with as many celebs as possible.
It’s funny how much you can tell about a person just by snooping through their luggage.
You never know when you’ll need cute lingerie! Liliana is a big fan of Victoria’s Secret bras and panties.