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On Its New Album, Bomba Estereo Is 'Watching The World' From Colombia

Bomba Estereo's latest album is called <em>Amanecer</em>.
Courtesy of the artist
Bomba Estereo's latest album is called Amanecer.

When Bomba Estereo began a decade ago in Bogotá, audiences didn't quite know what to make of it. The group was combining some of the most traditional Colombian sounds with some of the most modern electronic sounds, and not everyone appreciated the idea.

"We were kind of the pioneers," says the band's founder, Simón Mejía. "Purists of the folk music from Colombia took it a little bit like, 'You're destroying the tradition,' so there was kind of a dilemma. But then they went away! Now people are more open-minded."

On the new album Amanecer, Bomba Estereo's first on a major label, the musicians take things a few steps further. There's still plenty of the juxtaposition they've become known for: The song "Fiesta" at first evokes the multiplicity of folk musics heard at Colombia's annual Carnival de Barranquilla – then the beat drops, and suddenly it's as though the whole party has moved to a London dance floor. But Mejía says the group also tried to reach for sounds on this album that it had never touched before.

"The music, in the end, is very Colombian, and we're singing in Spanish. But it's universal," he says. "It's like watching the world from Colombia. It's our perspective of how we see the world."

Hear more of Simón Mejía's conversation with NPR's Arun Rath at the audio link.

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