Miss Colombia

Miss Colombia

Besting records by Canadian icons like Leonard Cohen and Gord Downie in a historic Polaris Music Prize win, 2016’s La Papessa rightfully broadened Lido Pimienta’s profile far beyond the country’s borders. For the Colombia-born and Toronto-based artist’s follow-up, she goes deeper into exploring her Afro-Indigenous and Colombian cultural identity while dismantling and reassembling cumbia, pop, and other genre forms into something all her own. (The LP’s title is a reference to the 2015 Miss Universe pageant, when host Steve Harvey misread his cue card and named Miss Colombia the winner; the real winner was Miss Philippines.) The jarring video game bleeps and squelchy bass of “No Pude” belie a poetically raw sentiment, while “Eso Que Tu Haces” treads cautiously through an emotional minefield of rhythm. Later, she adds her vital voice to the traditional sounds of Sexteto Tabala, a group from Palenque whose devotion to maintaining Afro-Colombian heritage jibes well with Pimienta’s own intentions. “Each song is a cynical love letter to my country,” she tells Apple Music as she walks us through the album, track by track. Para Transcribir (Sol) “This song is a question: Who am I? It’s about the feeling of not knowing if I am still the same person I was when I lived in Colombia. Every time I return to my country, I feel that I have to write something to remember how I used to be. That question is present throughout the album, and with each song, I answer it.” Eso Que Tu Haces “Since the album describes a cycle, this song is dawn. It’s waking up and stretching out your arms. Starting a new day to harvest the fruits that life gives us.” Nada (feat. Li Saumet) “This song has much to do with the cover. It's an analysis of the condition of being a woman and the pains we experience: pains associated with your period, with giving birth, with being a mother. Li is my best friend, and I always wanted to make a song for her and with her.” Te Quería “I’m talking to Colombia. Each song is a cynical love letter to my country. What’s it like to deal with that relationship? Well, I’m fine with it. I’m never gonna write a love song to a man. I’m not like that. Of course, people are gonna interpret it their own way when hearing it, and sing it to whoever they want. This is a love song because I like to write songs where the message is delivered in a way that you can enjoy it and not sound like a scolding.” No Pude “This is a very stressful song. It encapsulates distress. It’s like the pre-boiling point before everything explodes. It’s the point where I can’t stand it anymore: I can’t stand the violence, the corruption, the male chauvinism, the femicide. It’s an absolutely sad and dark song. As for the beat, it’s also a watershed on the album, because it’s a more experimental one.” Coming Thru “The whole album has a common thread, and this is the song that opens the B-side, if we think in terms of a vinyl record. It’s a very simple song, without many arrangements. For me, it’s like drinking a glass of water: It refreshes you and represents a new beginning. Starting from scratch. It’s a nice song to raise your spirits after the darkness on side A.” Quiero Que Me Salves (Preludio) [feat. Rafael Cassiani Cassiani] “This one was recorded outdoors, on a terrace. You can hear the noises of the street there. It talks about the challenges facing Colombia; it’s about giving us a new opportunity to fix the wrongs we have done to our people as a country.” Quiero Que Me Salves (feat. Sexteto Tabala) “Sexteto Tabala is a very important band for me since I was a teenager. They are legends. We're great friends now, and I knew that at some point I had to record a song with them—a song that had the roots of Colombian music. I didn't want to process or add anything to their sound: I wanted it to be heard as it is. It’s music that has survived the extinction of cultures, and those songs are going to continue surviving for generations until the end of humanity. For me, it’s very important that people value this music the same way they value the music of European or North American bands, since it’s even more valuable because of their history and origins.” Pelo Cucu “This one is another song with traditional Colombian music. I want this music to be heard like any other, without having to be presented as exotic or within a neo-colonialist framework. It’s also part of my process of reconciliation with Colombia—recognizing it in me and in my music.” Resisto y Ya “This is my way of playing and being revolutionary. Revolution can be carried out in different ways, and everyone carries it out in their own way, by any means necessary. In my case, I feel a lot of pressure, since practically all my actions come under question. For example, the songs I make don't conform to the standard of the type of songs that people expect from me, so I have been called into question. In my view, the most revolutionary act today is being a woman, a mother, and a migrant. I live in a constant struggle, not settling for being just another statistic, just another number, just another negative story about being a Latina mother in a foreign country. But in the end, I’m a revolutionary, because I have been successful in these adverse contexts.” Para Transcribir (Luna) “This song is a way of saying, ‘Don’t cry anymore, don’t suffer. This is you, and you can be happy.’ To achieve this, you have to let go and accept who you are, with the challenges that being Colombian implies. Accept yourself and sleep peacefully. Tomorrow is a new day.”

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