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New Album 'Deja' From Cumbia Band Bomba Estereo Is An Ode To The Four Elements

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

For a decade and a half, the band Bomba Estereo has been experimenting with a unique sonic palette that has won them critical acclaim and multiple Grammy nominations.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "AGUA")

LILIANA SAUMET: (Singing in Spanish).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: They fuse electronic beats and psychedelic dance music with a range of Colombian sounds, including cumbia. And on their new album, "Deja," you can also hear the sounds of monkeys and birds and waves, part of the album's environmental theme. Vocalist Liliana Saumet joins us now from Santa Marta, Colombia. Welcome to the program.

SAUMET: Hi, hi. Hi, everybody.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Hi. This is a concept album about the environment. It's divided into four sections, right? Water, air, earth and fire. Tell me about why you wanted to make music with the natural world at its center.

SAUMET: Yeah, I think more than ever, we need to think about our roots, our, like, environment, our spirituality and our, you know, ancestors because world is crazy right now. So we have to be, like, more involved with all this message that is so important right now more than ever.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "AGUA")

SAUMET: (Rapping in Spanish).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I mean, environmental conservation is not something new for you. Your bandmate Simon Mejia was featured in a documentary about Colombia's rainforest protection projects. And you've spoken out about the negative impacts of deforestation, mining, climate change. You know, people read about environmental issues all the time in the news. What do you think music can do that can communicate something different about these issues?

SAUMET: Yeah, it's - music is connection. You know, music is spiritual too. Music is mantras. And all the nature sounds and all the nature is mantras. If you hear every day a song - when it would say, like, I feel good. I feel good. I feel good - in some point, you feel good. So I - we realized in this album and in all our career is when you make music, you probably - if you say something good, you message is connected, you can make people happy. You can make people, you know, empowered. You can make people sad, too, but in the good way. So this is, for me, art. Music makes you feel. So when you listen beautiful things and positive things I think is something really good and necessary.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I want to listen now to a song called "Se Acabo" or "It Ended" or "It's Over."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SE ACABO")

SAUMET: (Singing in Spanish).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Tell me about this song.

SAUMET: Yeah, this song - talk about it's more like a song for - like, for everybody, of course. It's more like woman feeling - when you feel like - you feel abused for many, many ways, like nature. You feel abuse in your work, in your relationship, in your house in many, many different ways. It's the moment where you say, I don't want to do this anymore. I'm tired. And you say, no mas, se acabo, done.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SE ACABO")

SAUMET: (Singing in Spanish).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You know, why was it important to include that in the themes of the album - sort of the idea of empowerment and leaving bad relationships behind?

SAUMET: Yeah. I think it's super important - it's - the album es un album feminista, too.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It's a feminist album.

SAUMET: Feminist, yeah. When I was making this song, when I was composing the song, I was thinking, if one woman or man or whatever - human being can get out of the one situation that they don't want to be or they don't like it - if one person can do that with that song, this, for me, is amazing.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's Liliana Saumet of Bomba Estereo. Their new album is "Deja." Thank you very much.

SAUMET: Thank you very much.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "AHORA")

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