“I embraced my own style and said that’s actually cool. I don’t care if the people don’t like it, I like it and I feel comfortable and thats it.“
Confidence is definitely an understatement for Colombian lead singer Li Saumet of Bomba Estéreo, the electrifying latin pop group that’s making a mainstream stamp. First off, the band has 6 energizing studio albums behind them, and during these last few years has been in a category all its own. Their funky blends of Cumbia, super charged pop, and fiesta sized sounds have become a mainstay for a new generation of Latinos who love to fuse the music they grew up on with the music of today. We got to see Bomba Estéreo pull out all the stops at Bésame Mucho, LA’s huge Latin music fest. Plus, we got to chat one-on-one with Li backstage in her trailer before taking the stage at the sold-out event. Upon meeting Li, you instantly feel her empowerment vibes. A trait that really comes through in her recent music video, for Dove’s #MyHairAMiModo, aka My Hair, My Way campaign. The initiative was created alongside leading Latina voices, like Li’s, to champion hair positivity.
In the video, you’ll see Li front and center championing young women to do everything their way, as Bomba Estéreo’s top hit “Soy Yo,” leads the way. And let’s just say Li has been doing things her way from the very beginning. “I was super weird in my city…and I was different. I wanted to wear different stuff and I want to make different things.” She remembers discovering Bjork’s music for the first time and re-discovering herself by using music to help embrace her Latin beauty. “With that music, with that woman, super weird woman, singing something super crazy I feel like my life changed.”
“Soy Yo,” is a song that really embraces Li’s individuality and spirit which is why the positively pop track was reinvented with even more empowering lyrics about self expression, especially en tu pelo (our hair), for this campaign. Dove research actually shows that 9 out of 10 women feel pressured to style their hair according to society’s expectations and Latinas are no stranger to this societal pressure since we are a community with diverse hair types of all lengths, textures and colors. For Li, she hopes this campaign, which builds on the launch of Dove’s Love Your Hair collection, and the new “Soy Yo’s” lyrics, inspires others to accept themselves wholly and not care about what anyone else thinks. “[We’re] different and thats OK and we beautiful because of that. Because we different.”
Li rocked a sci-fi pony tail with colorful braids throughout her hair on stage at the festival, and we loved it! Her playful fashion kept coming as Bomba Estéreo played their hits like “To My Love,” and “Somos Dos.” Bésame Mucho, which was held during a chilly 1st week of December at the iconic Dodger Stadium (the festival heads to Austin in March), was literally every Latino’s Coachella. The best way we’d describe it? It was the biggest and best family backyard party my parents ever threw!
As fellow Latinos, we grew up listening to our parents cassette tracks that held classic songs from Los Tucanes de Tijuana, Alejandro Fernandez, Los Bukis, Gloria Trevi, and Los Ángeles Azules. Then, naturally, our siblings in the 90’s, introduced us to Rock en Español. A genre of music where Maná and Caifanes dominated. FYI…every band mentioned above was at Bésame Mucho.
The festival had four themed stages where these bands (and more) played 45 minute to 1 hour sets. Trust us, it was hard to decide where to spend our time. Between hearing great music, seeing epic art installations, eating Quesabirria tacos, albeit overpriced, and drinking pre-made margarita cocktails, there was much to do at this festival.
Bomba Estéreo was the last band to play at the pop “Beso” stage and their psychedelic stage performance made them a festival favorite. Pretty sure we can thank Li for that. Her vibrant personality really shined through her quirky and colorful stage looks. Now we know, when you come to a Bomba Estéreo concert, always expect Li’s fashion to put a smile on your face. She sports so much joy with hot pink jumpsuits, neon rainbow fringe, oversized plush coats and hairstyles that are out of this world. Style risks she’s willing to take to flaunt her true fashion personality.”Fashion, people don’t understand what fashion is. Fashion is not like I have Gucci things, like a designer things, it’s not about ‘buy things’. It’s about you have style and embrace that style. This is fashion.”
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Fashion and music is what keeps Bomba Estéreo going along with superb collaborations. In 2022, Bomba Estéreo climbed the Billboard charts at an astronomic high speed rate with their hit “Ojitos Lindos“. Trust us, you know this song. It was a huge track off Bad Bunny’s Un Verano Sin Ti album. The song was an instant pop sensation and since then has been streamed over 1 billion times on Spotify. “A good one,” says Li, who hinted the collaboration with Benito is the first of many. Bomba Estéreo could have new music on the way so be ready for anything. “I think we are going to see another amazing collaborations,” says Li.
We also loved that Li spilled some LA destination secrets when Bomba Estéreo rolls into town. For example, Li’s number one place to shop? “Target,” laughs Li, “I go to Target everywhere in USA, if I have the chance I go to Target.” She also likes to vintage shop here in LA, hit up Venice Beach, and loves a good Thai restaurant. Li also loves Christmas and will be celebrating both Colombian and Canadian traditions, because her husband is Canadian. She’ll be up north in the snow and plans to cook her favorite Colombian dish. “I love to cook for Christmas, like coconut rice and potato salad. And my husband makes the turkey.” And more than likely, Christmas and Bomba Estéreo songs will be playing in the background.
Feature Image Courtesy of @THESUPERMANIAK