Festival Esteréro Picnic 2024: Lolabúm – almost local

By Oli Pritchard March 12, 2024
Lolabúm are playing Festival Estéreo Picnic 2024

Originally from neighbouring Ecuador, we’re classing the now Bogotá-based Lolabúm as a local band as they prepare for their performance at Festival Estéreo Picnic 2024. Singer Pedro Bonfim and bassist Martín Erazo took time out to talk to us ahead of the show. Last year they released their acclaimed fifth album Muchacito Roto.

Lolabúm Martín and Pedro in front of a Transmi
Lolabúm are recent arrivals in the city

Deceptively youthful-looking, these rock hobbits have only recently come to Bogotá. Pedro explains, “Ecuador is having a difficult moment right now, so we recently arrived here. It’s a place where we feel relaxed and happy. It’s a scene with a lot of movement. It’s a cool moment for us as well to have this platform to put Ecuador in the spotlight ”

Their sound is sad art-rock, with whimsically wistful lyrics underpinned by strong, sometimes abrasively chopping guitars and insistent, urgent basslines hungrily driving the songs forward. They’ve been at this for a while – debut El Cielo was out in 2016, but it was Tristes Trópicos two years later that was their breakout, followed by two more pandemic albums.

Lolabúm took a slightly different turn with last year’s Muchacito Roto. From the jarring opening of Ecuaboi, with its D’n’B style sections and vocoder effects, it’s clear they’re going somewhere else. “Muchachito Roto is our tribute to Ecuadorian pop,” says Pedro. “It’s cool for us to play with that sound.” Martín agrees, adding, “And with our sound too, we’re in dialogue with the contemporary Ecuadorian sound.”

A radical departure for these freewheeling musical magpies

Songs like Nidi are closer to their previous work, an almost ambient lo-fi sound telling a heartbreakingly tender love song that finds the beauty in everyday experiences. This is still the sound of lovelorn teens, but continuing their musical development in a new direction. Wherever they go sonically, the lyrics will always be sensitive.

Transandino: the Lolabúm story

Martín is also enthusiastic about the move to Bogotá, adding: “It’s very inspiring to be here right now. That this festival exists and invites so many bands, including the locals, is so good. Not just Bogotanos either, but from all over Colombia. It’s a very cool platform.” The country isn’t just the capital for them, as they’re keen to point out.

“We’ve played in many parts of Colombia,” says Pedro, before reeling off a list of places they’ve performed. “It’s really diverse, you can be in Pasto, Bogotá or Medellín and they’re completely different places. We’ve been coming for many years to the centre of the country, it’s a part we’ve always liked of Colombia.”

Martín and Pedro from Lolabúm
The boys ahead of their Festival Estéreo Picnic show

There’s a lot of cultural crossover between the south of Colombia and Ecuador, says Pedro: “We share a lot of phrases with Pasto and that area, guagua, ñañito, things like that.” Martín explains with a grin that his favourite phrase from his homeland is chuchaqui, meaning hangover.

They clearly feel at home in Bogotá, as Pedro points out. “It’s a place that has always made us feel welcome. It’s also a really effervescent place, which I love. It can be good and bad – it sometimes feels rushed, but with a cool rhythm.” Martín chimes in to add, “The friendliness of the people too – they’ve really taken to us. I have the impression that we’ve always had good vibes here.”

Quito remains in their hearts, though, says Pedro: “It’s a city with a lot of colonial weight. Many churches and religious places. Public transport can be a problem too, even if now we have a Metro. Quito is a lot smaller than Bogotá, there’s less night time activity, people go to sleep much earlier.”

They clearly miss the music of home, as Pedro makes clear: “It’s a really creative scene, and very original too. All the projects, or at least the majority have their own sound. The sad thing is that it’s very complicated to do things like organise concerts because of all the permits etc. It’s really worth a look for anyone.”

Poignant lyrics combined with sharp musical chops have always been a trademark of Lolabúm

When I ask what they miss about home, Martín is quick to cite the culinary delights of home, saying “Ecuadorian food is so delicious.” Pedro jumps in to add: “And volcanoes. And the heat of Guayaquil.” Martín concludes “Everything is so close. You can be on the beach or in the Amazon in five hours from the capital.”

Lolabúm have trekked the Inca trail through the Andes to reach Bogotá and play Festival Estéreo Picnic 2024. You only need to make a short ride across the city to check out the vibrant yet sensitive musical banquet they will lay on at the Picnic. Get down there to feast upon their wares.

Lolabúm play at 3.45pm on Saturday March 23 on the Adidas stage at Festival Esteréro Picnic 2024 in Parque Simón Bolívar. Tickets still available here at time of publication.