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Afro/Indigenous/Colombian/Canadian/punk/folklorist/traditionalist/transgressive/diva/angel. There are so many layers to Canadian-Colombian singer Lido Pimienta’s identity that you might get lost in them. But if you did, you’d be missing the point.  

Her multi-textural, mind-bending voice and music project was what Canada’s The Globe and Mail called her “bold, brash, polarizing” persona, which constantly confronts the powers that be. But it also reveals an embrace of the Afro- and Indigenous traditions that is at once defiant, delicate and sweetly nostalgic.

Born 22 September, 1986, she is a Colombian Canadian musician, singer, and songwriter.  Her music incorporates a variety of styles and influences, including traditional indigenous and Afro-Colombian musical styles, as well as contemporary synthpop and electronic music.  In addition to working as a musician, Pimienta is also a visual artist and curator, and her work has been described as exploring “the politics of gender, race, motherhood, identity and the construct of the Canadian landscape in the Latin American"  

Lido clearly remembers the moment when she began her journey as a transnational, cultural mixing experiment as a singer. The brashly dynamic electro-cumbia diva had gone through several phases, starting in her early teens fronting punk and metal bands, and had become obsessed with trip-hop pioneers Massive Attack and Tricky.

“It was before I moved to Canada, I was in this dance group called Cumbé in Colombia,” she recalled. “My cousin was one of the drummers in the group and he told me, ‘you know you have a really good voice, why would you waste that voice on this depressing music?”

Pimienta’s cousin then introduced her to an Afro-Colombian group called Sexteto Tabala, who she later collaborated with on the song “Quiero Que Me Salves” (I Want You To Save Me). Initially formed in 1996, Sexteto Tabalá are the cultural heartbeat of Palenque and guardians of Afro-Latin musical history who can swing like a salsa band, groove like a fuji orchestra and serenade you all at the same time. They are one of the most representative musical expressions of the African communities in Colombia.

Pimienta credits her time in Sexteto with the development of her singing and overall aesthetic. “That’s what shaped me, how I learned to have stage control,” she said. “It wasn’t because of some bar in Ontario; it was because I was in front of thousands of people singing Afro-Colombian spiritual music.”

Released in 2010 Color LP is her debut album and sets the stage for her dark-Latin pop style. 

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I hear the earth when it rises and falls,

I hear the skies when it winds up and grows tall,
I hear the people and their condolent calls,

But I could only dream of laughter - I’m sworn to its thrall.

It’s been a while since I’ve heard laughter,
My siblings are powerful,
but they don’t know what they’re after,
When you’ve lived so long,
When you’ve repeated every song,

There are times when you start to wonder,
“Was it worth it, after all?”

I’ve seen the slow break,
I’ve seen the dramatic pause,
I’ve seen my siblings ache,
Without knowing the cause.

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