By: Winnie T. Sittón
Photos: Cortesía Estéreo Picnic
The tenth Estéreo Picnic Festival is scheduled for the first weekend in April. This gigantic alternative music event has taken place in Bogotá every year since 2010. The festival began modestly, thanks to the efforts of a group of independent promoters, and grew and improved little by little, becoming a cultural event of colossal proportions, featuring more than fifty international artists in a single weekend. The festival is now the largest of its kind in Colombia and one of the largest in South America.
This year’s line-up includes musicians and bands from a variety of alternative music genres. We’ll whet your appetite with a review of the most outstanding artists performing in the 2019 festival.
This British band returns to Colombia for the second time and headlines the festival. They’re back in Bogotá with new material after a five-year hiatus. They will be promoting their recent 2018 recording, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, although fans will undoubtedly clamor for the hits that made the band famous ten years ago, including I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor and When the Sun Goes Down. These headliners are certain to be one of the most anticipated shows.
Kendrick Lamar is a Molotov cocktail. The 31-year-old American rapper, record producer, and singer-songwriter has already been described as the new king of hip-hop. He is as popular as he is critically acclaimed and controversial, given the powerful political content of his lyrics. His songs reflect the plight of African-American youth in the United States, but his powerful lyrics take a back seat to his poetry, which is why Lamar has captivated audiences and critics alike, establishing himself as one of the best rappers of his age.
This fifty-year-old Dutch DJ’s career has lasted more than 35 years, but he is still among the ten most important DJs in the world. Tijs Michiel Verwest (better known as DJ Tiësto) is an undisputed icon in electronic circles. He returns to Colombia to give back a little of the unconditional love that, since its inception, the Estéreo Picnic Festival has demonstrated for house music. He brings a new EP, I Like It Loud, which features the hit single Jackie Chan, produced with Dzeko, Post Malone, and Preme.
Also on the bill is the renowned Colombian salsa orchestra Grupo Niche, who the festival organizers invited to celebrate the band’s fortieth anniversary. Their set is sure to be the cherry on top of the festival’s 10th anniversary. The group from Cali needs no introduction, with famed hits such as “Buenaventura y caney,” “Cali pachanguero,” “Una Aventura,” and “Busca por dentro,” but if you’re not a “salsero” or don’t like to shake your bones, just know that Grupo Niche is Colombia’s biggest salsa orchestra and one of the great exponents of the genre worldwide. Say no more!
With five albums to her credit and the critics’ blessing, St. Vincent is one of today’s most avant-garde artists. The talented American composer, guitarist, and multi-instrumentalist has built a strong solo career thanks to her unique sound that is nourished by complex arrangements, melancholic lyrics, and a broad instrumental spectrum. That’s why it’s no an exaggeration to say that only St. Vincent sounds like St. Vincent. And in a world of mass-produced music, her success, achieved without giving up an iota of her essence, is especially wonderful. I’m sold! I’m a fan and cannot wait to see her live!
Seun Kuti & Egypt 80
The 35-year-old Nigerian saxophonist and singer Oluseun Anikulapo Kuti is the youngest son of Afrobeat king, Fela Kuti. His solo career includes six recordings and collaborations with musical greats such as legendary British producer Brian Eno and popular Puerto Rican group Calle 13. Today he directs Egypt 80, the band his father founded in the late 1970s, and their music keeps his father’s rebellious spirit and activism alive.
Singer, actor, and Latin American pop icon, Ximena Sariñana was born in Guadalajara (México) and began her career acting in soap operas and movies. She released her first album, Mediocre, a little over ten years ago. Far from mediocre, the record’s success opened the door to a music career grounded in jazz, soul, and, of course, indie pop. Now, at 33 and with a newborn baby in tow, she has stated in various interviews that her perspective on life and music has changed. And with the release of her fourth album, she takes a stab at reggaeton.
After musical training in Boston when she was barely twenty, Silvina moved to Brooklyn to begin exploring the New York underground scene. She recorded her first album, Mañana (2012), with songs in English and Spanish. Although tempted to remain in the city that never sleeps, she returned to her native Buenos Aires and her simple and refreshing approach brought her overwhelming success. Having released three albums already, her career is on the way up. Only thirty years old, Silvina promises great things.
2019 Estéreo Picnic Festival
Line-Up: Arctic Monkeys, Kendrick Lamar, Twenty One Pilots, Sam Smith, Tiësto, Disclosure, The 1975, Interpol, Odesza, Grupo Niche, Years & Years, St. Vincent, Portugal, The Man, Rhye, DJ Koze, Rüfüs Du Sol, Erlend Øye, Zhu, Khruangbin, FIDLAR, Nicola Cruz, Cuco, Alcolirykoz, Jon Hopkins, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, Bajo Tierra, Esteman, Los Espíritus, Mitú, Ximena Sariñana, Rap Bang Club, Carlos Sadness, Irie Kingz, Mula, The Kitsch, Nicolás y Los Fumadores, Apache, Pedrina, La Payara, Margarita Siempre Viva, Ha$lo Pablito, Usted Señálemelo, Mabiland, Quemarlo Todo por Error, Las Yumbeñas, TSH Sudaca, Alejandro y María Laura, Absalón y Afropacífico, Arrabalero, Da Pawn, Montaña, and Silvina Moreno.
Parque Deportivo 222 in Bogotá (Colombia), from April 5 to 7.
More information: www.festivalestereopicnic.com