Colombian band Bomba Estereo finally released their highly anticipated album ‘Deja’ four years since their last full-length release ‘Ayo’ in 2017. In times as uncertain as ours right now, ‘Deja’ comes as a breath of fresh air, as a grounding moment in music where we get to be present and connect to our planet with the music. In the words of lead singer Li Saumet: “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.”

In an exclusive interview for crema by mitú, we talked to Li Saumet about the inspiration behind the album, dividing the songs conceptually with different themes according to the elements, how the pandemic shaped the process of creating it and more.

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The rollout for ‘Deja’ gave fans a taste of the themes of the album which are: agua, tierra, fuego & aire.

‘Deja’ is conceptually divided by the four elements: water, earth, fire, air. At the beginning of this year, Bomba Estéreo started to give fans a taste of the album by releasing the songs from ‘Tierra’ leading up to the release for ‘Deja’ today. The decision to have a different rollout for this album felt very natural for Li Saumet.

“We didn’t want to follow the patterns of the music industry with releasing one single here, another single there. Also with our current times right now [with the pandemic], we also didn’t want to rush with releasing single after single, we wanted to follow nature’s flow this time around, because as humans we’re always on the go. We never get a chance to really digest a body of work. In Latin music I feel like we have lost that essence and that feeling that we get from albums, to follow a concept”, Li shared.

To record the album, Bomba Estéreo met with a community of collaborators who got together in a beach house in Santa Marta. On the Caribbean coast of Colombia, where the Sierra Nevada mountains meet the sea, they let it all go and recorded ‘Deja’, which captures their tropical alternative essence. “We recorded the album at a place that we feel is sacred, where the energy is extremely powerful, we were connected to our surroundings and let nature speak to us.”

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For Li, it was all about taking their time creating something they’re truly proud, something that didn’t feel rushed. “With this album, Simón and I wanted to showcase the different elements and processes of nature that don’t have to be dictated by a release date or a label, so we took our time crafting this album. It was very nice for us to have a different rollout and show fans the elements, and also since everyone was at home during quarantine, so now with the full album they’ll get the complete experience”, Li shared.

“The album is about the connection and disconnection of human beings—from the planet, from one’s own self. 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.” – Li Saumet

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The album explores different themes including mental health, love, heartbreak and living in the moment

The spirit of Deja can be found on “Ahora“, which spreads a message of mindfulness and being in the present. “I’m seated in the right place/At the correct moment/At the correct time”. For this one, Simón did field recordings that included natural sounds of birds and waves crashing. For Li, she sees herself as nature’s platform to express her feelings in her songs.

“My composition process is very spiritual, it’s not really me who writes the songs, I channel them, they come through me. I’ve spent a few years preparing myself spiritually so that the message can be transmitted more directly and more purely to the people who listen to us”, Li shared.

“Lyrics have to say something positive, because at the end of the day, music is a mantra.” – Li Saumet

On “Agua”, “Tamborero” and “Conexión Total”, Bomba Estéreo highlights Afro and indigenous sounds

Bomba Estéreo has always been true to the Afro Colombian and indigenous roots of their sound that capture the vibrant way of life of the Coast in Colombia. On “Agua”, we can hear bullerengue and a mixture of tropical sounds, paired with fellow Colombian artist Lido Pimienta and OKAN’s vocals. On “Tamborero”, percussionist Pacho will take you to Carnaval de Barranquilla with his drums in one of the standout upbeat tracks from the album.

“Conexión Total” is one of the few collaborations from the album with Nigerian singer Yemi Alade. About the collabration, Li shared: “Our music comes from Africa, so it felt right to have Yemi on the song. When I heard the final song I was like ‘Wow’. It was the perfect match to have her voice with this song.”

Stay tuned for our video interview where we go track-by-track with Bomba Estéreo on ‘Deja’ next week.