For a long time the world at large had little understanding of Colombian music beyond the erratic wail of Shakira and the unchallenging soft-rock of Juanes. In the last couple of years that all changed. Acts such as Bomba Estereo and Chocquibtown exploded on to the scene, borrowing from traditional Colombian rhythms but adding modern twists. Suddenly the world of Colombian music seemed a very exciting place, and cities such as Bogota and Medellin quickly became synonymous with this new and experimental sound. Soon other artists popped up, such as Systema Solar and Sidestepper, who all also garnered critical acclaim.
But by now you´ve listened to ‘Mas Papaya’ about a million times, right? Where to look now for some fresh Colombian sounds? Here at the Colombia Travel Blog, we’re bringing you 5 fresh artists for you to discover.
Esteman is difficult to pin down. Influenced by what is clearly a wide-variety of music, his sound can switch from flamboyant big-band to 60s girl-group to stripped-down acoustic indie – sometimes all in the course one of song. Incessantly catchy and with a commanding stage presence (despite his rather dimunutive frame), Esteman is one to keep an eye on for the future.
2. Cero 39
Cero 39 are an enigmatic bunch, preferring to stay under the radar and not expose themselves in frivolities like videos and such. Their music borrows heavily from traditional Colombian genres (cumbia, vallenato and more), but mixes them with complex yet catchy electronica. You´re ultimately as quick to cite Four Tet as an influence as Diomedes Diaz – an odd combination I´m sure you´ll agree, but one that works in the skillful hands of Cero 39.
Pernett is probably the most established of the artists in this list; he’s been rocking the airwaves with classics such as ‘La Rumba Bacana’ for years now. His distinctive remixes of classics have earnt him critical acclaim, while the energy of his music allows him to appeal to anyone who enjoys a decent rumba.
4. Monsieur Periné
It´s hard to ignore Monsier Periné: a profusion of colour, energy and undeniable cool, they´re a safe bet or any ‘next-big-thing to come out of Colombia’ debate. Elements of jazz and swing feature heavily in their sound, but there are also the quirky, kitsch elements of a group well-versed in what’s happening right now in the world of indie. Be sure to check them out.
5. Lido Pimienta
Lido Pimienta’s sound is strange, catchy and above all completely hypnotic. In songs such as ‘Luces’ she effortlessly recalls Bjork, The XX or Mum, while elsewhere she maneuvers through less-trodden routes, transforming traditional cumbia rhythms or bringing Colombian sounds to bear upon psycheledica. Currently based in Canada, there’s no doubt Lido Pimienta connects strongly to her Colombian roots. An extremely exciting artist, we’ll be watching her closely for new stuff to bring you.
Any more suggestions for us? Get in touch in the comments!