Bomba Estereo is a Colombian group based in Bogota that weds tropical, cumbia, vallenato, and champeta rhythms to electro, reggae, and pop in a unique form of dance music.
The group was formed by Bogotá native Simón Mejía out of his A.M. 770 project, a recording outfit that utilized salsa, cumbia, electro beats, and dance music. He renamed the group Bomba Estereo in 2005. The group's debut album, Vol. 1, appeared in 2006 as a solo record, with contributions from several musicians and singers including singer/rapper Liliana "Li" Saumet. This pair remain the band's central members, and based on the album's strength, Mejía was able to secure a distribution deal with Nacional Records.
Enlisting others players, Bomba Estereo's sophomore album, Estalla, was issued in 2008, and was subsequently released in the United States as Blow Up, based on the global dancefloor and Latin radio success of its single "Fuego." In 2010, they were voted "Best New Band in the World" by MTV Iggy. Later the year, Mejía competed in the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, and won a year collaborating with Brian Eno — he finished second to producer Ben Frost. He also worked with filmmaker Santiago Posada on a field recording project in San Basilio de Palenque.
Bomba Estereo toured globally and played music festivals including SXSW, Bumbershoot, and Bonnaroo before returning to the studio to work on a new recording. An EP entitled Ponte Bomb was released by Nacional in 2011.
They followed it with the album Elegancia Tropical in 2012 on the Colombian label FM Discos y Cintas. Miles Cleret's Soundway label picked it up and released it internationally. It netted two global dancefloor singles in "El Alma y el Cuerpo" and "Pure Love," and a nomination for a Latin Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album. The band — which had undergone several personnel changes — undertook tours of their home country, the United States, and Mexico over the next year-and-a-half.
In 2014, they released the single "Qué Bonito" on FM Discos y Cintas. Late in the year, they signed with Sony Music Latin. Their pre-release single, "Fiesta," appeared in March of 2015, followed by the full-length Amanecer in June. It was nominated for two Latin Grammys including Best Alternative Music Album and Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album. It was certified gold. A follow-up video single, "Soy Yo," racked up 23 million views on You Tube. After playing festivals across the globe, they returned to the studio, and in June 2017 the group issued the video single for "Duele" followed by the studio album Ayo in August while the band was on tour. It peaked at 28 on the Top Latin Albums chart and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album. ~ Thom Jurek