Album Review: Lido Pimienta – Miss Colombia [ANTI-; April 2020]

What if Frida Kahlo did Instagram? Or if Sun Ra gave cumbia the astral treatment? Well it would probably look and sound like Lido Pimienta and her grower of a new album, Miss Colombia.

The title is a reference to the super awkward Miss Universe moment of 2015, when the crown was mistakenly awarded to Miss Colombia rather than Miss Philippines. Miss Colombia sees Lido Pimenta revisit her own experiences of racism, and explore these along with pride and nostalgia for her Afro-Colombian heritage on this, her third album.

Released on ANTI- the US sister label to Epitaph, where many a punk finds home – Toronto based Lido is a folklorist who makes glitchy laptop cumbia (and even finds time to work on a graphic novel) but it’s her voice that really makes this album. 

Beginning with the lullaby-esque ‘Para Transcriber’ (Sol), an orchestra rises like the titular sun over Lido’s ethereal vocals and what sounds at first like vocal warm ups becomes something much more spiritual.

Miss Colombia then gets the cumbia party started for real with ‘Eso Que Tu Haces’ a slow building cumbia with dubby brass and Lido’s voice multi tracked until it’s universe sized. 

Next comes ‘Nada’, an album highlight, with a minimalist cumbia aesthetic, and a catchy flute hook that Lido’s voice dances over and with. 

Miss Colombia turns out to be an album of three parts, with the middle third going all folkloric and delivering another highlight, ‘Pelo Cucu’, on which Lido celebrates the Afro texture of her hair in the company of a choir and percussion ensemble.

Finally we are reminded that the album was in part recorded on Colombia’s Caribbean coast with ‘Resisto Y Ya’ which is nice carnival vibes all the way, before Lido puts the record to bed with ‘Para Transcriber’ (Luna), another lullaby to bookend a pretty gorgeous album.