On our Radar: Colombian women edition

By 27 March, 2019

We were cobbling together this edition of “On Our Radar” when it dawned on us: Each artist hails from Colombia, either by birth or descent. And they are all women. With it being International Women’s Month, it couldn’t be more perfect.

STEFA*, ‘Una Casita’

“Una Casita” is a standout track from STEFA*, the Queens, N.Y. based singer’s 2018 debut EP, Sepalina, and its simple lyrics are driven by her yearning for a home that defies capitalism and patriarchy. “Everyone is searching for that,” she told Fader, “Everyone wants to exist without fear and without shame.” To that end, the video is overflowing with gorgeous images of the artist in the home of her dreams, where she can bask in soft repose.

Las Perlas, ‘Bruja’

The Bogotá based band, Las Perlas, is one of many Colombian bands to have their music featured on the Netflix show, Siempre Bruja / Always a Witch.

The song featured, Bruja, has such a powerful chorus (“Mama, a mí me decían la bruja…” / Mom, they called me a witch), and is typical of the quartet’s style of music, which fuses cumbia, bullerengue, porro, merengue, champeta and beatbox. What’s interesting is that they do not hail from Colombia’s coastal regions. As they told Shock in 2018, they are big fans of these folkloric styles and have made it their mission to share this music with the world:

” … we are not from the coast, nor come from families that have passed on knowledge from generation to generation, but we are lovers and admirers of the gaita flute and drums, so one of the fundamental tools to contribute to this music continue to evolve is to propose from the musical creation, and make school what we have learned how we have learned.”

Founded in 2014, we’re looking forward to hearing more from these women.

CHAE On Fire, ‘Colombianos’

CHAE on Fire (pronounced SHA-EH) writes to represent black Colombians, as she states so clearly in her spoken word. Luckily for us, the Cali-born artist makes music, too.

CHAE was part of Las Perlas Negras duo with her sister Mila who won several acclaimed awards nationally and internationally, including El Congo de Oro twice in Barranquilla’s carnivals, FITUR award in Madrid, Spain among others. CHAE has also composed Caribbean, African, and salsa songs and produced them in collaboration with her sister as an independent artist. Now based in New York City, it’s wonderful to see a powerful black woman making Colombian music in a city considered to be the capital of the world.

Her song “Colombianos” is an anthem. There’s simply no other way to describe a song that emits such pride about the Colombian people. Listen below.

BONUS: KAZZIMB ft Richy Nolie, ‘Mujeres’

This next song isn’t sung by women, but it’s about women / mujeres, so we decided to include it as a bonus.

We’re living in an era where pop music has taken musical cues from the likes of dancehall, moombathon, and champeta, and while some may dislike the ‘pop-ification’ of genres that were created and mastered by black people, there’s no denying it’s popularity, pun intended. This is why it was so refreshing to get a pitch about a classic champeta by a new band, Kazzimb, featuring vocalist Richy Nolie, who hails from Cartagena. The band is led by Maka, who used to be with Tribu Baharú.

The lyrics of “Mujeres” ‘is about, what else, praising women. “Porque no saben, que sin ella uno se muere.” (They don’t know, that without them, one would die.) A perfect song for International Women’s Month, in our opinion.

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