Four years since the release of their last album, Colombian duo Bomba Estéreo have dropped Deja, their sixth studio LP. The new album is an elemental, pulsating offering to the world, promoting connection, togetherness and a convergence between humans and nature. While Deja is a uniting album, it also calls out our recent disconnection to the land that gives us life due to the rise of a digital world. Driven by a cultural heartbeat, Bomba Estéreo create intricate layers of depth that prompt both dance and thought alike, from transfixing electronic sounds tinged with Latin and African influence, to lyrics that divide the album thematically to mirror the earth’s four elements.
“The album is about the connection and disconnection of human beings—from the planet, from one’s own self,” singer Liliana “Li” Saumet explains. “It’s about how we’re disconnected, more connected to electronic devices and virtual things than real things. So we decided to use the four elements, because they’re part of the equilibrium of human beings.”
Mixed by Damian Taylor (Björk, Arcade Fire) and featuring collaborations with other artists including the iconic Mexican songwriter Leonel Garcia and Nigerian superstar Yemi Alade, Bomba Estéreo expand not just on their sound, but in the way they work and draw inspiration. Building an album through community was important to both Li and Bomba Estereo’s founder Simon Mejia. Mejia drew increasing inspiration from playing live shows with José Castillo and the folkloric percussion of Efrain “Pacho” Cuadrado while Li recruited her longtime friend Lido Pimienta for the session. Tying together elements of the earth as well as cultural synergy, the band’s project serves as a point of intersection for the ethereal influences on mankind and the effects connected cultures have on each other, in particular the ties between South America and Africa, exemplified in their single with Yemi Alade.
“Collaborating with Yemi is a huge honor as our music has been deeply inspired by Africa in all senses since we started,” says Mejia. “Colombia’s folk music owes a lot to the mother continent, that powerful mix of African drums and marimbas, with indigenous flutes and chants is the base of the incredible soundscape of this country. Yemi is a great artist and has an amazing voice. We’re really happy to keep on extending the cultural and ancestral ties that bond Africa with South America.”
Self-produced, Deja is an all encompassing cultural and earthly amalgam of feeling, thought, sound and a myriad of human emotion. With a hybrid sound that incorporates the best elements of dance music with strong local roots, Bomba Estéreo create a dynamic world of heritage and hope for the future.
“Some heavy things are happening to the world and we have to share them,” Li says. “We made this album so you can dance to it at a club, but at the same time it has a profound meaning. It’s meant for you to dance perreo with a conscience.”
Words: Patti Sanchez