About Lido Pimienta
A Colombian singer/songwriter whose experimental mixture of Afro-Indigenous traditions, Latin rhythms, and left-field electronic pop helped establish her in her adopted home of Toronto, Lido Pimienta gained widespread notice in 2017 when her second album, La Papessa, won Canada's coveted Polaris Music Prize. That it was entirely self-released and sung in Spanish gave it even more distinction among previous winners. She soon signed with the Anti- label which reissued La Papessa and then released her similarly ambitious follow-up, Miss Colombia, in early 2020.
A native of Barranquilla, Colombia, Pimienta descends from African and indigenous Wayuu heritage, making her a minority in her homeland. Her artistic talent and passion developed early and while practicing various visual art mediums, she also began singing in hardcore, metal, and punk bands, earning a reputation around the city. When she was 19, she immigrated to Canada to join her mother in London, Ontario. She had a child within two years of arriving and soon moved to Toronto to study art criticism and make her mark on the city's music scene.
Pimienta debuted in 2010 with Color, an album that offered an early glimpse of her boundary-pushing approach and was produced by her then-husband, Michael Ramey. She and Ramey soon separated and over the next several years Pimienta intensified her focus, experimenting as a songwriter and deepening her knowledge of production and home-recording, all while working as a single mother. She completed and released her second album, La Papessa, in 2016. A distinctive and original work that combined her Afro-Colombian heritage with exploratory modern pop, the independent album made history when it became the first 100% independent, non-English/French-language release to win Canada's Polaris Music Prize, beating out major stars like Leonard Cohen. That same year, she collaborated with the Ottawa-based First Nations hip-hop/electronic group, A Tribe Called Red, on their album, We Are the Halluci Nation. An advocate for racial and social minorities, Pimienta frequently calls out during her shows inviting the "brown girls to the front." This caused a controversy at the 2017 Halifax Pop Explosion when several white audience members and a volunteer photographer showed racial bias, reacting negatively to this request and were subsequently ejected. After signing with Anti-, Pimienta began work on her follow-up, recording between her home and the historic town of San Basilio de Palenque. Musically ambitious and lyrically defiant, she described 2020's Miss Colombia as a "cynical love letter to Colombia," taking on issues of racism and indigenous inequality. ~ Timothy Monger