Back in the early '90s, almost no one -- except Pablo Escobar, his fellow kings of cocaine, and their constantly warring cartels -- would've ever willingly taken a trip to Colombia's 473-year-old subtropical capital, Bogotá.
These days, though, the city is a dense urban hub that's home to seven million people, tucked a mile and a half high in the Andes Mountains. Crime and violence has been scaled back. The tourists aren't so afraid. The hipster class is expanding. And Bogotá's hottest annual export is no longer a billion bricks of white powder. It's pure party music by bands like Bomba Estereo.
After five years and one album as a solo project, Bomba became a full-fledged crew in 2005 when founder and bassist Simón Mejía recruited singer-rapper Liliana Saumet and three other members for sophomore slab Estalla, re-released Stateside in 2009 as Blow Up.
And just a few months ago, Mejía and Saumet dropped a warm-up, the Ponte Bomb EP, for their impending third album. It's another mini-shipment of el Estereo's electro vacilón, that dance-y psychedelic brand of cumbia cut with champeta, dub, and hip-hop.
One bump and you'll wanna jump on the Bomba tour bus, catch a chopper across the border, and hit up a Bogotá block party.
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Bomba Estereo with Spam Allstars, Los Rumberos de la 8, and Mr. Pauer as part of the Heineken TransAtlantic Festival. Thursday, April 14. Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The party starts at 8 p.m. and tickets cost $20 plus fees via fla.vor.us. Call 305-672-5202 or visit transatlanticfestival.com.