023 - Lido Pimienta

Last week, Métron Musik Mixtape 022 reached it’s finale with a beautiful collaboration between Kaleema and Lido Pimienta, two of my favourite South American artists. That was a passing of the torch for this weeks mix, as Columbian born Toronto resident Lido Pimienta is at the reigns of Métron Musik Mixtape 023, a fascinating exploration of vocal styles from around the globe. The singer, producer, visual artist and curator made a massive impact on me with her own vocal performances featuring on tracks alongside the incomparable Chancha Via Circuito (her performance on ‘Jardines’ is particularly magnificent). I was later to discover her solo record ‘Color’ which was released back in 2010 and showcases her unique talents as a solo artist. I was delighted when I was able to speak with her and thrilled that Lido wanted to contribute a mixtape to the series.

Pimienta is clearly an artist fascinated with the human voice, and this is certainly evident as she treats us to a raucous array of vocal performances in her Métron Musik Mixtape. Tribal chants from a range of cultural backgrounds are interspersed with modern electronica, bass, folklore, vocal spots from Lido herself and eventually culminating in a powerful A Capella rendition of her new track Agua from the forthcoming ‘La Papessa’ LP.  I can’t say that I’ve heard a mix quite like it.

Further to her musical work Lido is a fervent supporter of women in technology and arts, a passionate voice promoting her Latin heritage, and somebody who takes a keen interest in the local music and art scene in Toronto. She’s also a talented visual artist and was keen to produce the artwork to pair with her mixtape - a beautiful illustration from her ‘Flower Girl’ series (you can read more about this in her fascinating Q&A with us).

If you enjoy what you hear you can check out more of Lido’s work on her social pages and keep your ear to the ground for the planned release of her new LP later this year.

I chatted with Lido about her fascination with vocals, when she began singing and about her forthcoming LP.

Artwork by Lido Pimienta

JH: Your mixtape feels like an exploration of the human voice, when did you first become so fascinated with vocals?

LP: The mixtape is indeed an exploration of the human voice. I approached this work as a journey of contemplation and appreciation of our human capacity/need of resistance, (whatever that may be).

It is no secret that ‘voice’ is my main channel for communication. I am inspired in the chants from the cantaoras of my home country Colombia in the north coast, and I am heavily influenced by Indigenous cultures and the way they approach singing, to instill knowledge and love. My new music, the narrative of discovering a new sound was a direct result of understanding where my own voice was from, and once I understood my true sound essence, I went deep into different electronic machines and experimental noise generators, so in a way, this mixtape is the of that, a RADIO PIMIENTA of some sort ! The voices that lead me now.

JH: When did you first start singing?

LP: I was a really sick child when growing up, I was also really shy and insecure about the way that I looked and sounded like. I had a “boys name” and had a “boy’s” speaking voice, but when I would sing, I sounded like “the little mermaid”....

On top of that, I  was also a total daydreamer, kids used to tease me because I would stretch my arms wide open pointing at the sun reflecting through the windows, while closing my eyes imagining i was in the middle of the ocean - right in the middle of science class…..The sound of kids laughing at me would violently snap me out of that trance. I wish i could re-create the sounds I was hearing in such a state back then...Singing became my shelter, but also the way other kids would respect me eventually. When I was 10 I entered school’s talent shows and that gave me lots of confidence, when I was 11, I was in my first hardcore band. Everyone around me in the band was my age now, I was a precocious child. At 13 I think I had my first real show with my metal band, I did guttural too. I mean...Singing saved my life. It is who I am.

JH: You have recently finished a new LP - can you tell us a bit about the record?

LP: The album is titled, “La Papessa”, Ive been working on it with my mates for a long time, I was ready to release it in 2013, but had a family tragedy that shocked me too much to work on music, you know this industry is really tough, so I needed to get my life back to normal.

This record is about that, the story of a young woman figuring out life, family, love and most importantly, her relationship to nature. Agua, the first single is about (the) water rights of my people, the Wayuu, from the north coast of Colombia, bordering Venezuela. That was the push I needed, the situation in my home country never seems to improve, so I saw the space to come back, with a new sound. La Papessa, which means High Priestess, takes the essence from the tarot card by the same name. I hope to release the full album this september, with a book. I am excited to share it with the rest of the world.

JH: You featured a version of your phenomenal collaboration with Chancha Via Circuito ‘Jardines’ in your mix, that track is one of my all time favourites and I have attempted to translate the lyrics (as I don’t speak Spanish) but I wanted to ask you personally what the song is about?

LP: As an interesting fact: I recorded the song in my laundry room (which is really like a closet with a washer and dryer inside) while my son was asleep. I wrote the lyrics on the spot, after hearing Chancha’s beat over and over again on my way to school prior to laying it down. He sent me a story, of a tree growing its branches and the title of the beat was “Jardines” (Gardens), so I finally went in my closet/recording laundry room booth and started: “A garden starts with a seed, and a vision fed with sunlight”

The song, is maybe one of the few love songs I’ve ever written. It is of course not a song about hetero-clingy-pathetic love stories. The song is about a love that looks to the sun and nature as only way to be free and in tune with all that is around us. The song speaks directly to the immensity of this planet and the incredible potential to be happy without using or abusing another. A song only able to be shared with somebody like Pedro (Chancha), a beautiful human.

JH: What was the inspiration behind the artwork you created for this mix?

LP: This illustration belongs to a series of drawings I've created,  of girls being happy and free.
This little girl with her flowers follows a recurrent theme in my illustration style, the "campesina" child surrounded by nature. I used to idolize Japanese animated renditions of these western children's stories like "Heidi", "Candy", "The Secret Garden" and so on, stories of sweet little white girls being leaders in their communities.

As an adult, and mother of a little boy now, I often struggle to find stories in which the hero or sheroe look like my son, or his cousins, or me when I was growing up. So this series of drawings, just like this mixtape, looks to shine light on the girls from the mountains, oceans and rivers of not just the alps or the streets of France.  

JH: Finally we always like to hear about some records we might not have heard about - can you recommend a few that we may have overlooked?

LP: Animism - Tanya Tagaq
Nation II Nation - A Tribe Called Red
YT//ST - Yamantaka Sonic Titan
Mas Aya - Kairos
Conector - Conector II
Austra - Olympia
Helado Negro - Double Youth

I mean I can keep going with albums that are out there already, but I am really looking forward to hearing Kaleema’s (Argentina) new album, as well as upcoming album by Above Top Secret (from Toronto), and Melody McKiver’s (Ottawa)

JH: Some cool selections in that list, I will have to check them out! Thank you so much for talking with us and for producing such a wonderful mix Lido. Love it!

1)Melchora Surco live testimony about mining company in Espinar, Cusco, at the Interamerican Human Rights Commission
2) Hoy_Mas Aya & Lido Pimienta
3) Jardines (Tremor Remix) Chancha Via Circuito & Lido Pimienta
4) Bad_Unnuaq ft Melody McKiver
5) Pattern Block_Blake Blakely
6) The Axe is Ready_Tenderness
7) Ndame_Aby Ngana Diop - Liital
8) Stand In My Way_LAL
9) Dime_Helado Negro
10) Wayuu Child Recital (audio rip)
11)  Algodon Egipcio_Multiestabilidad
12) Josh Cole vs Isla Craig_Messages(Redux)
13) Dream, The Deeep (Prince Nifty dreamix)
14) Tew! Tew!_Chalachew Ashenafi, Llilta Band-Fano
15) Noujoum Essaouira-La Voix des Etoiles A.R 162 - “Lailaha illa Llah”
16) Martina Camargo_Live Audio_Lido Pimienta edit
17) Eddie Palmieri_Jibaro(intro)
18) Esta Tierra No Es Mia_Sexteto Tabala
19) Máxima Acuña Goldman Environmental Prize speech
20) Agua_Lido Pimienta (A Capella)

Original artwork for the mix created by Lido Pimienta.

Métron Records 2018. Hampshire, UK.