Last week, Bomba Estereo’s Ayo debuted at No. 7 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart. With an even more pronounced focus on Colombian folk sounds intertwined with irresistible dance loops and beats, the album is one global party with deep roots.
While Colombia’s hippest party band is currently in the midst of a slew of European dates, Americans should get ready for the fun to hit stateside with the group’s upcoming tour dates next month in the U.S. and Latin America, including three shows opening for Arcade Fire.
The thing about Bomba – made up of Simón Mejía and sultry chanteuse Liliana Suamet – is you can’t just listen to their music; you have to feel and experience it. Before you embark on that adventure, here are six things to know about the band, Ayo and that Arcade Fire partnership.
1. On opening for Arcade Fire: “Three years ago we played a festival in Montreal and Win Butler went and became a fan,” says Mejía. “Time passed, we were coincidentally in the same booking agency and met him face to face. We had instant chemistry and he said, ‘Why don’t you do a few dates with us in Latin America?’”
2. On the meaning of the word Ayo: “The word hayo, with the h, comes from the Coy Indians,” says Saumet. “It’s the mix of coca leafs they chew on for energy when they need to walk long distances.” However, adds Mejia, “the meaning of the word is very ample. It was our way of paying our respects to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Mart [in Colombia] and this indigenous world. The word has many meanings, but we see it as a representation of the album, of nature and light. And it has no language. It can be said in any language.”
3. On using Spanglish in their songs: “Today barriers are fading and music is more and more universal. It becomes language,” says Mejía. “That’s what makes our music cool. We can play it in Spanish in places where no Spanish is spoken and people still connect.”
4. On their new tour: “Everything is new,” says Saumet. “Each album has new information. We have two new band members, more African guitars, live percussion, more folklore.” Plus, adds Mejía, “The repertoire is new. We’re playing the album top to bottom, like a block.”
5. A song Liliana recommends: “’Quimica (Dance With Me).’ It’s a very danceable song, a party song, very much a Bomba track. It’s all about having a good time and about that certain attraction that can exist between people.”
6. A song Simón recommends: “’Siembra.’ It opens the album and it embodies the concept we’ve been searching for since the beginning. It’s a message about the land, that has a lot to do with what’s happening at an environmental level. It’s a beautiful song, thought for our children.”
This article originally appeared on Billboard.