KEXP Live at Iceland Airwaves 2017, Day 4: Lido Pimienta

Photos by Jim Bennett

Next on our video stream live from Kex Hostel at Iceland Airwaves was Colombian-Canadian musician Lido Pimienta. The queer-identified musician, visual artist, and curator blends Afro-Colombian and indigenous music with experimental electro-pop. Her first album “Color” was released in 2010 (KUDETA),  and she pursued a degree in art criticism and spent time learning about audio production before releasing last year’s La Papessa, which was awarded the Polaris Prize. Lido Pimienta is also known for her collaboration with A Tribe Called Red on their 2016 release We Are the Halluci Nation. Her work was described by Toronto’s Mercer Union as being concerned with “the politics of gender, race, motherhood, identity and the construct of the Canadian landscape in the Latin American Diaspora and vernacular”

Kex was filled with festival attendees ready to get their dance on, even at only three in the afternoon. Lido was clad in colorful clothing, with cascading silver braids and colorful fabrics draped all over the stage and instruments—little did we know that the vibrant setup wouldn’t even begin to compare to how colorful her performance itself was. She opened with “En Un Minuto” a song that really highlights Lido’s beautiful voice, as well as her mix of the super traditional (It features the Tambora prominently, an instrument that is essential in Cumbia) and the super modern (with her digital clicks and tones). Her sound ranges from gentle harmonized vocal loops, to heavy drum beats and everything in between. She has an incredible vocal range, and her beautiful soulful voice and cathartic wailing made for a very emotional performance. I admit, it feels a bit cliché to compare a Latinx artist to Frida Kahlo, but with Lido Pimienta’s colorful clothes, beautiful braided hair, fierce pride in her heritage and cultural traditions, political and social advocacy, work pushing the boundaries of her medium, and her outspoken, bright, and funny, personality, it’s almost impossible to avoid the connection to the iconic painter.

Lido is an incredibly compelling performer, energetically engaging with the audience, telling stories and making jokes. She introduced “Fornicarte Es Un Arte” (“Fornication is an Art”) with “oh, there are kids here….this is a song…about…fornicating…and…polyamory,” and her careful choice of words had the crowd in stitches. She also approaches the darker parts of her life with humor. She told a story about the origin of “La Capacidad” (“The Capacity”), a song she wrote after leaving a violent relationship. When she wouldn’t take her ex back, he threatened to put naked photos of her online. She called her mother to tell her about the problem, and her mom said she would take care of it. Her mom called him and said “please put those pictures online, when it happened to Kim Kardashian she became a millionaire and I don’t want to work anymore.” The audience loved her banter between songs just as much as the music—laughing, cheering, and dancing the whole time. One of the stand-out performances of this year’s festival, her performance was an absolute pleasure from start to finish.


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