Music Reviews

Lido Pimienta | live review

Megan Moonbat

written by : Megan Moonbat

Lido Pimienta | Botanique, Rotonde - Brussels, Belgium | 9 May, 2022




2017 Polaris Music Prize winner, Colombian Canadian musician, singer and songwriter, Lido Pimienta released her most recent album Miss Colombia in April 2020 in the thick of the COVID pandemic. Her third album Miss Colombia explores the contrast between her country of birth (Colombia) and her country of residence (Canada). At long last, Pimienta can reign over the stage to finally support Miss Colombia live.

In Brussels, the Botanique is holding its annual Les Nuits Botanique festival bringing in artists of every genre to perform on one of its four stages both inside and in the surrounding outdoor garden. Inside the most coveted performance space in the venue – the semi-circular tiered La Rotonde, situated directly under the large dome of the Botanique with a lit-up disco ball projecting fairy lights around the space - the stage set-up is minimalist maximalism. Winding around the percussion and small key-console stand are lush arrangements of tropical flowers, evoking the same aesthetic found on the exquisite album art from Miss Colombia.




The lights dim and Pimienta takes the stage in a black, bell-shaped dress, Nikes and large ribbons and bows in her hair. Her outline glows in blue light as she sings a cappella, and the crowd is hushed. She works the stage with powerful presence, owning it and drawing the crowd in. A warm light begins to shine down and she is joined onstage by percussionist, Brandon Valdivia.

She asks for anyone from Colombia to raise their hands, and a large number of the audience happily make their presence known. Pondering what language to communicate in that evening she quips, “I think we’ll have no problem with Spanish tonight!”, going on to add that she’s had to learn all the colonizers’ languages, pointing out that French makes no sense and English is “depressing”.




The eclectic crowd is instantly enthralled as the duo launch into their unique bass-heavy Afro-Colombian sound weaved together with dream-laced electronics that bring to mind the inventive, earth-based pop sensibilities of Bjork and 90s-era Bristol trip hop. This heady mix swoops from passionate opuses about with love and frustration for her homeland as well as her adopted one.

She intersperses witty interludes between songs, chatting with the crowd, talking about police brutality against black and brown people as well as being exotified by rich white people. She recounts a story of when she made a score for the New York City ballet and was standing outside Lincoln Center. A rich, white woman approached her and fawned over her “exoticism”, mispronouncing her name. She relates that her music is music of Indigenous, brown and black people. This is her telling her story her way, not to please white mainstream society. The crowd cheers her on as the energy rises, and builds further still as the entire Rotonde turns into a dance party featuring Pimienta twerking and sticking out her tongue in her black mushroom-shaped dress. The atmosphere could not be better.




There are certain artists who create entire galaxies specific to themselves, and Lido Pimienta is one of them. Lido Pimienta makes music that takes the rhythms of Afro-Colombian music and filters it through her own inventive art-pop that respects classic Latin traditions while creating an utterly original vision that is as much a joy to hear as it is to experience. Tonight was the perfect experience to get a glimpse into Lido’s dynamic world.