A message for the masses in ‘rebellious poetry’

Photo courtesy of Lido Pimienta.

Colombian-born, Toronto-based Lido Pimienta will be performing on Feb. 4 at the Fox Cabaret as part of the PuSh festival music series.

Pimienta’s music bases itself in indie and electronic pop, fusing it with Afro-Colombian influences and style with the goal of bringing a nuanced and personal kind of protest poetry to the masses.

Message and goal

For Pimienta, growing as an artist has meant becoming more knowledgeable and conscious of her position in the world. Despite a synthy, poppy and often upbeat approach in many songs on her latest release, La Papessa, the lyrics on the album, and during performances, are often more poignant than playful.

“I talk a lot about my experience as a woman who doesn’t give a damn, about collective anger, collective suffering. I’m always speaking from the point of view of women of colour, about intersectional feminism in that way as I critique white feminism and white supremacy, though not in a literal way,” says Pimienta.

As a socially conscious artist, Pimienta says that the value of the message in music is just as important as the way it is delivered. For her, good music is a vehicle to speak about issues in a way people will listen to, and even enjoy doing so:

“My music is moreso activist, rebellious poetry, so I don’t point the finger or patronize; I just say it like it is in a very beautiful way, because I find that beauty is an excellent tool to get a point across,” says Pimienta

For Pimienta, talking about such concepts as feminism and white supremacy comes more fluidly and personally when talking about one’s own experiences, rather than abstract concepts.

For example, when Pimienta performs ‘La Capacidad’ (which translates roughly to ‘You are Able’), a song about a violent boyfriend, for live audiences in Canada, it is one of the few moments where she sings in English. For Pimienta, using English sparingly doesn’t take away from the performance, people understand what is being discussed with the minimal context that is given:

“I’ll do a sort of lullaby along the lines of, ‘You are the man, and I’m just a woman, I’m just a stupid woman, and I’m scared of you, because I’m just a stupid woman [etc.]’,” notes Pimienta. “I’ll say that, and at the end of the show people are crying and stuff. I don’t have to spell it out; people will know that I’m talking about violence against indigenous women, against women of colour, so that’s the way that I raise the issue.”

Lido Pimienta says her music is a form of poetical rebellion.| Photo courtesy of Lido Pimienta.

Musical history and influence

Music was something that Lido Pimienta gravitated to from a young age. Precocious, she describes her younger self as the “weird kid in the back of the class reading about artists.”

Listening to everything from power metal, to Lauryn Hill, to Chilly Gonzales, one of the more apparent influences in her music might be from the 90s Bristol electronic and Hip-Hop scene, though even then, the influence is tenuous. Pimienta notes how it’s easier not to pin her influences down to a particular style or genre.

“I was just listening all the time to whatever music was around me, and I am a result of all that music,” says Pimienta.

Pimienta went on to music school, and after having performed her first show at 12 years of age, she has since continued to create music that she describes more seriously as “electronic music with afro-colombian roots and classical sensitivities,” and more jokingly as “Satanic pop.”

“I was such a weirdo child in Columbia, I would play my music very loudly, and the neighbours would say, ‘Oh, there you go with that satanic music,’” says Pimienta. “But I wouldn’t really associate satanism with pop, and I’m atheist anyway.”

Pimienta isn’t hesitant to state her aim of becoming a force to be reckoned with in music, both lyrically, and popularly. For her, the kind of fame she aspires to is the ultimate step in sharing her message with the masses.

“My goal is to go as far as I can,” says Pimienta. “I’m not shy about it or humble about it. I feel like I don’t have any limits, that I can go as far as I can.”

For more information, visit www.pushfestival.ca.