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Lido Pimienta's take on Colombian tambora, lullabies captivates ACL Fest crowd

The singer said she was grateful for the warm welcome at ACL after a long bout of touring.

AUSTIN, Texas — Lido Pimienta graced the Barton Springs stage at Austin City Limits Music Festival on Saturday afternoon as she wraps up a long 1.5 years of touring following her 2020 album, “Miss Colombia.”

In that time, the Colombian artist and musician, based in Toronto, has also composed music for the New York City Ballet, begun work on a new album and debuted her own TV show, “LIDO TV,” which recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

She walked on stage at Zilker Park to “Para Transcribir (SOL),” captivating the audience from the start with her vocals, set over sparse but triumphant horns.

The percussion – played by Lido’s partner, Nicaraguan-Canadian Brandon Valdivia, who plays his own music under the name Mas Aya – set in as she played her next song, “La Victoria.” Rather than a traditional drum kit, Valdivia plays a Colombian tambora, with the hands of a punk rocker.

While Lido’s influences span multiple artists and genres, the core of her songs can be traced back to Afro-Colombian music such as the tambora of Martina Camargo, the bullerengue of Petrona Martínez or the music of San Basilio de Palenque, where she recorded parts of “Miss Colombia” with the late Rafael Cassiani Cassiani and Sexteto Tabalá. 

Lido, who is of African and indigenous Wayuu descent, told the ACL crowd it is the music of her ancestors, a music she was told was satanic when she was younger by those wishing to shut out those communities.

Credit: John Gusky/KVUE

Lido’s songs deal with issues of nationhood, race, love and motherhood, but she’s also really funny – probably one of the reasons she now has her own variety TV show in Canada, many times addressing these issues in a humorous way.

The singer said she was grateful for the warm welcome at ACL after her long touring stint and wanting to finally be home with her children, noting that many artists are pulling back on tour dates as pressures add up.

For fans familiar with the album version of many of Lido’s songs, her live show can be a unique experience as she moves though improvised melody changes, including added metal screaming on the chorus of her third song at ACL, “No Pude.”

“No me cuida la policía, a mí me cuidan mis amigas,” she sang on “La Victoria.”

Credit: John Gusky/KVUE

For her songs “Resisto Y Ya” and “Nada” – one about protest and the other about the narrative of pain that comes with childbirth – Lido took a moment to call out the abortion bans taking place in Texas and across the U.S., while, meanwhile, abortion has recently become legal without restrictions in Colombia up to the 24th week of pregnancy.

"If abortion is murder from conception, let’s have a moment of silence for all the babies lost to socks," she joked.

The chorus of “Nada” is a lullaby, conceived of while Lido was “arrullando,” cooing her daughter to sleep. The power of lullabies – songs shared between parent and baby, but also between generations – come through Lido’s music and her rolling vocals.

The crowd at Zilker Park clapped the rhythm as she closed her set with “Eso Que Tu Haces,” a song most were singing along to for its big chorus.

Lido Pimienta will finish her tour this month with a show in New York City on Oct. 20 and a show in Los Angeles on Oct. 25.

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