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Review: 'Amanecer,' Bomba Estereo

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In today's fast-moving world of pop music, electronica is the new folk music. If you're thinking that sounds like a stretch, reviewer Banning Eyre says just listen to the latest release from Bomba Estereo, a group out of Colombia. The album is called "Amanecer," or awakening. Banning says it offers a friendly entree into the realm of electronic dance music with folk roots.

(SOUNDBITE OF BOMBA ESTERO SONG, "FIESTA")

BANNING EYRE, BYLINE: Bomba Estereo, or stereo bomb, formed in 2005 when members of Colombia's alternative rock and dance music scenes came together to create the ultimate party band. This song, aptly titled "Fiesta," pretty much says it all.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FIESTA")

BOMBA ESTEREO: (Singing in Spanish).

EYRE: We get the rolling, percussive beat of carnival in Baranquilla, hypnotically chiming guitars, and, best of all, the warm, reedy voice of Liliana Saumet. Saumet's vocals unfailingly humanize Bomba Estereo's layered electronic grooves.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CADERAS")

BOMBA ESTEREO: (Singing in Spanish).

EYRE: The sensuous slow-grind of this song, "Caderas," owes a lot to Jamaican dance hall, but many of these tracks showcase sounds drawn from Colombian folk music, such as the gaita flute and the tambour alegre drum.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SOY YO")

BOMBA ESTEREO: (Singing in Spanish).

EYRE: The song is "Soy Yo" - "I Am Me" - a kind of anthem to self-expression. Most of the lyrics on this album celebrate love, though some have spiritual overtones, as in the closing track "Raiz." Here, Liliana Saumet digs into her indigenous Colombian roots to imagine herself as water flowing from a mountain, or a bird flying high over the lands.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "RAIZ")

BOMBA ESTEREO: (Singing in Spanish).

EYRE: Bomba Estereo is part of a worldwide movement of electronic dance music that attempts to make deeper connections with local traditions. With their rich, danceable soundscapes and uplifting lyrics, these Colombian maestros do this especially well. At the very least, this album is a perfect set of summer songs, the sort you could hear over and over, happily, until the leaves fall.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SOLO TU")

BOMBA ESTEREO: (Singing in Spanish).

CORNISH: Banning Eyre is senior editor at afropop.org. He reviewed "Amanacer" by Bomba Estereo.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SOLO TU")

BOMBA ESTEREO: (Singing in Spanish). Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.