Q&A: Li Saumet On The Magic Of Bomba Estero, Working With Bad Bunny And Nature

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“In our case you never know what is gonna happen with the Bomba Estereo album,” lead singer Li Saumet says in an understatement. Since I met with the band in early April in L.A., where they were filming a performance for La Banda Elastica , the band has a feature with Bad Bunny on his just released new album and the song, “Ojitos Lindos,” brought the band to a new high of number three on the global Spotify chart.

The collaboration is another milestone in the continual success of the Colombian band that could. Seventeen years into their career they continue to reach new heights. And teaming with Bad Bunny will only enhance that success.

“I’m really happy with this collaboration. It was a really fluid and natural conversation. Benito has such a clear idea of what he wants and he is open to explore new ideas, without fears. I value that so much in an artist,” Saumet says. “Tainy worked his magic to build the song with Benito’s vision and our Bomba essence. Benito wanted a nice and pretty song so we worked together in the studio in Miami to make a nice and pretty song and I think the outcome accomplished that. We previously worked with Tainy on a remix for our song “To My Love” which is a favorite among our fans to this day. “

She added, “I think it’s important that the alternative Latin music scene joins with the mainstream to make music and deliver our message and art together. For me it’s an honor for this moment to showcase our Bomba Estéreo sound in a new way on a wider platform.”

Tainy, who produced the song, says, “This song perfectly represents the vibe of the album. It’s one of those songs that instantly transports you when you listen to it. Hearing the combination of Benito (Bad Bunny) and Li’s vocals was incredible for me. It’s one of my favorite tracks on the album.”

The song’s instant hit status can only add to the anticipation for the band’s upcoming fall tour in support of the Grammy-nominated Deja album. The U.S. leg kicks off September 16 in Orlando and wraps October 3 in Los Angeles.

I spoke with Saumet about the new album, the influence of the beach and nature on the music, the importance of syncs for the band and much more.

Steve Baltin: Do you have a dog?

Li Saumet: I have three dogs. One I rescue. He was named Coco, but he bite, so we have to put him in another house, because we live in the beach. So he used to bite people in the beach. And I have a two boxers, white boxers. One is Luna, this is that, you can hear. And another is Junior, and they are like twins.

Baltin: How much do you feel this album was influenced by being stationary in one place, at the beach?

Saumet: We spent all the process there. I start in Canada working with Lido Pimienta, who is my friend. And we were working, we started the songs and everything, but the real process to get the album ready, it was in my house in front of the beach. And it was beautiful, because we really connected with the nature, we really connected with the sounds of the oceans, sounds of the animals. I live in a place, it’s like a jungle. It’s probably a jungle, so we can hear the monkeys in the mornings and we can see the sunset. We actually saw dolphins, like 30 dolphins when we was recording the album. So many magical things happened and I think also, we bring the memo to ask permission for the album and everything. So, everything was like a ritual. And I think when you do the things in that way, everything was different. I think we always have to ask permission to the earth or to nature for make things. More like music and art.

Baltin: Was it being at the beach and hearing these sounds that dictated the album becoming about connecting with the earth?

Saumet: I was always about that. I start in my place, then after I traveled to Canada, but always was the same feeling. I just tried to bring everybody to my house and make like a little studio in the house, and so they can feel what I feel. But always was about that. But you know, we human beings we need to not just be in the nature, we need a balance. We go to the city and go to the nature and take everything for everywhere, and make a balance because it’s too much. It’s too much. You need a balance always. This is because we talk about four elements.

Baltin: Did you miss touring?

Saumet: I didn’t miss it for a long time because I was touring literally until I start my career and the pandemic. So I was touring a lot. So, I never had time for my family, I never had time for me, for my son and I finally had time for me, for my family, for my son. We stopped one year before the pandemic, on purpose, because we had to take this year forming the album. And then after the pandemic comes, so it’s three years. So now I’m ready. I miss it now. But I enjoy for a long time because I’m lucky I live in the beach. So I wake up to every day in this beautiful place, not in a tiny apartment with all my family, in this beautiful place. So it’s different for me, but yeah, now I ready to go. [laughter]

Baltin: Do you now understand more the need for the balance?

Saumet: Balance, definitely. Yeah, I think the world changed. We can’t live in that velocity or what we used to have before that was so fast, everything. Now I think we have time to think, maybe we don’t have to go so fast, maybe we can take time to breath. And maybe we understand that now the basic things are so important, like family, like just stay in the house and connect with yourself, all this stuff. So I think it never is gonna be the same.

Baltin: Are there songs that you are particularly excited to do? Let’s start with the new album first. Are there new songs that you are particularly excited to do?

Saumet: Yeah. I’m so excited to play the new album because it’s so beautiful and powerful. And I’m so excited to play “Como Lo Pedi,” this is a really crazy song, and I made with another artist, but I gonna sing alone in the stage. So it is difficult to sing because I’m alone. So I do both parts, but in the same time it’s so like beautiful to do it alone because it’s so much power. And talk about what I want and how I ask for.

Baltin: You say in the song you talk about what, what do you want?

Saumet: I want the Grammy. [chuckle] I want to keep working like that, keep changing minds, keep making music, art, different and giving a message to everybody. I’m so happy what we doing now, so I want to keep doing that.

Baltin: When you see things change as an artist, you have to be in tune with everything that’s going on. It has to invigorate you, ’cause otherwise there’s no point in doing it.

Saumet: Totally. I think art, yeah, everything is changing right now, and we have to be conscious of that and we have to bring a message to the people. With the songs, with the lyrics, it’s so important because the generation now are open to listen to many things. And I think it in the Latin world too, we have to say many things because I think the message now is getting like a little bit just party and stuff. So I have, we have a responsibility to give a message to the new generation because everything is changing now.

Baltin: What is the message you want to give to the people?

Saumet: I want people to be more conscious about everything, about connect. I think people are really disconnected. So the message is always to connect with ourselves, mostly dancing or like loving, but being good, Just thinking in parties and just doing it in a good way. Be conscious and if you’re gonna dance, you’re gonna do it in the right way, like a ritual. And you gonna be connected with the nature and with the people and with the basic thing with everybody now, thinking like me, me and the egocentric things. I think it’s important to talk about that.

Baltin: Are there artists for you that really inspire the message you give and that you also appreciate the way they’ve been able to grow and evolve?

Saumet: Yeah. I think everybody is spiritual. It’s just something that people disconnect, but actually the artists, we are spiritual channels between the heaven and the earth. So if we want, if we live in the light, we can do this. If we live in the darkness, we can do another thing. But I think the point to be an artist, to be a channel, is help people like healing, so this is spirituality. I think everybody in essence here is spiritual, just you have to find a way to do it. And I think all the artists in some point, maybe not like in the face, but everybody has some spirituality there. But some people don’t take it real like, “Okay, I’m a channel.” No, just they want some money and whatever and egocentric things, you know, they loves it. But I think a lot of people is getting more conscious about that.

Baltin: Do you remember growing up who were those first artists that expressed the spirituality for you?

Saumet: I grew up listening to Afro Caribbean music and Caribbean music, and I think in some way all these artists are connected with the spirituality. So I think in some ways that all the music that I listen when I grew up, was the kind of spiritual music because it’s connected with the root.

Baltin: Talk about the influence syncs have had for Bomba Estero.

Saumet: We have this story about syncs, for example. I was just watching movies sometimes and I hear the songs and think, “This is my songs.” I never know where it’s gonna be. And it’s like a bunch of syncs, Bomba Estereo, like crazy syncs everywhere, and commercials, movies. Still like two weeks ago, last month and everything. And this is amazing because you never know what’s gonna happen. I think every single band have different cases, but our case is totally like, you never know what is gonna happen with the Bomba Estereo album. It’s now gonna explode maybe tomorrow, maybe in two years, maybe next year. I don’t know. It’s beautiful because it’s like the music don’t have limits. We sing in Spanish. We sing a music that is not mainstream for example. But it’s everywhere. So that’s amazing.

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