Bomba Stereo performing at the World beat music festival. Austin, Texas, 2013.
|Genres||Electro, Cumbia, Alternative dance|
Mister Gomes en Bombay
|Past members||Diego Cadavid|
Bomba Estéreo is a Colombian band founded in 2005 by Simón Mejía in the country's capital Bogotá. Their music has been described as "electro vacilón" (a term dismissed by the band), "electro tropical" or "psychedelic cumbia". According to Mejía the band's name (which translates into English as "stereo bomb") is a Colombian term for "a really cool, awesome, bad ass party".
The origins of the group go back to 2001 when Bogotá native Simón Mejía (previously a member of 1990s Colombian alternative rock band Charconautas) was part of a loose collective of musicians and visual artists under the name A.M. 770. Their music was influenced by Colombian groups such as Sidestepper and Bloque de Busqueda who in the late 1990s had started combining traditional Colombian musical rhythms such as salsa and cumbia with modern electronic beats and dance music. A.M. 770's first musical production was the track "Ritmika" (based on a sample of a song by Venezuelan salsa band Los Blanco) on the album Colombeat, a 2002 compilation showcasing this new musical style which was put together by Colombia's foremost alternative rock band Aterciopelados for their new label Entrecasa.
By 2005 A.M. 770 had effectively become Mejía's solo project and he began to focus more on the musical side of his work, changing the name of the group to Bomba Estéreo. The first results of his new project was the seven-track mini-album Vol. 1 (2006), essentially a solo album but featuring contributions from other artists such as fellow A.M. 770 member Diego Cadavid. Having recorded Vol. 1, Mejía attended the Latin Alternative Music Conference in New York City and was able to secure an international distribution deal with California-based Nacional Records for future releases, with Colombian releases on the Bogotá independent label Polen Records.
One of the vocalists Mejía had used on Vol. 1 was Santa Marta-born singer and rapper Liliana "Li" Saumet, on the track "Huepaje". Saumet had briefly been the singer for the dub reggae band Mister Gomes en Bombay before meeting Mejía at a concert. Impressed with Saumet's contribution, Mejía began to collaborate with her and Cadavid on songs for the next Bomba Estéreo album. By the time the second album Estalla was released in 2008, Bomba Estéreo had developed into a full band, with Saumet on vocals, Cadavid on percussion, Julián Salazar on guitar, and former Sidestepper collaborator Enrique "Kike" Egurrola on drums, alongside Mejía on bass and keyboard programming. Estalla was released the following year in the US under the new title Blow Up, with the single "Fuego" helping to attract new fans outside Colombia and resulting in the group being voted "Best New Band in the World" for 2010 by viewers of MTV Iggy, the television channel's outlet for alternative world music artists.
In 2010 the band were one of a dozen artists commissioned by Levi's to cover songs from previous decades, as part of "Levi's Pioneer Sessions" marketing campaign. The group chose to record Technotronic's "Pump Up the Jam", cited by Mejía as his favourite party record. The song was later released under the new title "Ponte Bomb" as the lead track on an EP of the same name, which also featured various remixes of the tracks "Fuego" and "La Boquilla" from Estalla/Blow Up.
The song "Fuego" can be heard in the background of the 2010 episode "Circle Us" on the Showtime television series Dexter, during a scene outside of a club, and later appeared on the series' soundtrack album. "Fuego" has also been used as the theme song of the Argentine television drama series El Puntero which aired in 2011, and features on the soundtrack of the video game FIFA 10. The Dixone Remix of the song "La Boquilla" (from the band's 2011 EP Ponte Bomb) was featured on the soundtrack of the movie Limitless that same year.
Simón Mejía was selected as one of the three finalists for the 2010–11 Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative to spend a year working with Brian Eno, eventually losing out to Australian composer Ben Frost. He also travelled with London-based filmmaker Santiago Posada to the Colombian town of San Basilio de Palenque, where the two men spent three months in 2011 recording the music of the local Afro-Colombian community for a music and DVD box set – the town became known in the 17th century as the site of the first free slave community in Colombia, and has retained much of its African-originated language, culture and music.
Bomba Estéreo performed at the South by Southwest and Roskilde festivals in 2009, and in 2010 undertook a world tour that visited 32 cities as well as the Bumbershoot festival and Bonnaroo Music Festival. In 2011 they performed at the Coachella Festival and Austin City Limits Music Festival in the US, as well as Lollapalooza Chile and the Vive Latino festival in Mexico City, one of the major worldwide festivals for "rock en español".
The band's third full-length album, Elegancia Tropical, was released in 2012 on Polen Records in Colombia and on Soundway Records worldwide. To promote the record the band undertook a tour of Colombia, followed by Mexico and the US throughout 2012 and 2013.
- Vol. 1 (Polen Records, 2006)
- Estalla (Polen Records, 2008)
- Elegancia Tropical (Polen Records, Soundway for Europe, 2012)
- Ponte Bomb (Nacional Records, 2011)
- "Fuego" (Nacional Records, 2009)
- "El Alma y el Cuerpo" (Soundway, 2012)
- "Qué bonito" (Polen Records, 2014)
Awards and nominations
Latin Grammy Awards
A Latin Grammy Award is an accolade by the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry.
|2013||Elegancia Tropical||Best Alternative Music Album||Nominated|
- (Spanish) Garzón, Angélica (May 30, 2011). "Música: Bomba que no cesa de estallar". El Tiempo (Bogotá, Colombia). Retrieved February 26, 2013.
- (Spanish) Castro, Ricardo (September 7, 2011). "La cumbia se ha vuelto más 'cool'". El Pais (Cali, Colombia). Retrieved February 26, 2013.
- Slater, Russ (July 23, 2010). "Cumbia should be THE Latin music: An Interview with Bomba Estéreo". Sounds and Colours. Retrieved April 3, 2013.
- Bishop, Marlon (April 17, 2012). "EXCLUSIVE: MTV Iggy Gets Sneak Peak At Bomba Estéreo’s New Album Elegancia Tropical". MTV Iggy. Retrieved February 26, 2013.
- Warner, Katie (June 3, 2010). "Bomba Estéreo en Fuego: Interview with Colombia’s rising stars". The Austin Times (Austin, Texas, USA). Retrieved April 3, 2013.
- (Spanish) "Cuatro colombianos hablan de sus mejores vivencias navideñas". El Tiempo. December 7, 2011. Retrieved February 26, 2013.
- "Q&A with Li Saumet & Simón Mejia of Bomba Estéreo: 'We Fell in Love... Musically'". MTV Iggy. August 27, 2010. Retrieved February 26, 2013.
- "MTV Iggy Presents Bomba Estéreo". MTV Iggy. Retrieved February 26, 2013.
- (Spanish) "La "Elegancia Tropical" de Bomba Estéreo". El Espectador (Bogotá, Colombia). September 4, 2012. Retrieved February 26, 2013.
- "Bomba Estereo Covers "Pump Up the Jam" for Levi's Pioneer Sessions". MTV Iggy. June 21, 2010. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
- Dexter Series 5 soundtrack album, Milan Records website Retrieved March 3, 2013.
- Slater, Russ (July 20, 2010). "Bomba Estéreo soon to be headlining across the US". Sounds and Colours. Retrieved February 26, 2013.
- "Mentors and protégés in music through the years", Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative website
- Slater, Russ (February 27, 2012). "Jende Ri Palenge: New Music and DVD Project from Bomba Estereo's Simon Mejia". Sounds and Colours. Retrieved February 26, 2013.
- Jende Ri Palenge project website
- "LatAm Beats: Colombian band Bomba Estéreo perform El Alma Y El Cuerpo". BBC. September 27, 2012. Retrieved February 26, 2013.