Some of Colombia’s hottest acts will share the stage with world famous bands like TV on the Radio and MGMT at Bogota‘s 2012 Estereo Picnic music festival.
As well as recruiting some of the biggest names in global music, festival co-founder Sergio Pabon told Colombia Reports that the festival organizers travel around Colombia in search of original bands that will interest locals and an international crowd alike. “We try to find independent bands that aren’t commercial…a mixture of music genres — Rock, R&B, indie, classic and importantly to us, coastal [Colombian] tropical dance music,” he said. Emphasis is on promoting local talent as well as drawing in the big names.
The following bands are the ones representing Colombia at the festival this year.
Chief exponents of coastal tropical music Systema Solar are among the Colombian star attractions. Inspired by traditional Caribbean beats, the musical-visual collective from Medellin give a catchy new sound to cumbia, fandango, and chapete by drawing on international styles like hip-hop, house and break beats. They have broken into the world music scene as much as any other Colombian band in recent years, performing at major festivals Glastonbury in England, Roskilde in Denmark, and Fusion in Germany.
Another notable band to emerge from Colombia’s underground music scene is Monsieur Perine, who this month performed at the world famous SXSW music and film festival in Texas. The multilingual band/orchestra blend French-style swing with Latin rhythms. “No band has had that sound here in Colombia before,” said Pabon of the Bogota-based group. Expect a fun set with classic philharmonic sounds.
Maintaining the international feel, the New York-formed Colombian-Dominican hip-hop group Tres Coronas will be gracing the stage. Rappers Rocca, P.N.O, and Reychesta enjoyed “underground celebrity” status before making it big with their debut album “Nuestra Cosa” in 2006. Since then Tres Coronas have collaborated with U.S. hip-hop giants Jay Z and Mobb Deep. Expect a cross between east-coast hip-hop sounds and hard-hitting lyrics about life in the NYC Hispanic community.
De Bruces A Mi and Crew Peligrosos
From Medellin’s vibrant reggae/hip-hop scene come De Bruces A Mi and Crew Peligroso, “[Crew Peligroso’s] context is very interesting…they come from Comuna 4, a really poor area in Medellin,” said Pabon. The band combines reggaeton-inspired, beat-heavy hip-hop with socially conscious lyrics that address the violence of one of the city’s toughest neighborhoods. With reggae troup De Bruces A Mi expect easy-going good times and anti-consumerist messages — a sound not a million miles away from Universal label’s German reggae headliner Gentleman, also in the line up.
Globos de Aire
Colombia’s answer to Icelandic post-rockers Sigur Ros, Globos de Aire will be offering ethereal rhythms for those in search of some down time. Expect up-lifting sounds and plaintive singing.
Beyond the music
The Colombian alternatives do not end with the music. Estereo Picnic aims to provide festival-goers with an all-round experience, food provided by local eateries “that aren’t McDonalds,” and there will be a “hippie market” with venders offering music, hair cuts, sunglasses or locally made hats, tattoos, music and there will even be a sex shop. “[Colombian music festival] Rock al Parque has huge crowds but nothing else to do but be part of the crowd,” said co-founder Pabon. The same could not be said of Estereo Picnic. The focus will be on the visual as well as the musical as local artists decorate the grounds with graffiti, sculptures, and a symbolic 26ft-tall sun balloon since “it is always raining in Bogota,” said the festival organizer, “the idea is that the festival has its own sun.”
The Estereo Picnic music festival will take place on Friday, March 30 at the Zona F park outside Bogota