As the sun falls and the moon rises over the New Brunswick marsh, the humidity breaks and swarms of mosquitoes feast.
Under the main stage tent on Bridge st., I make myself taller by standing on a sideline chair and find balance as I itch the insatiable bites on my exposed ankles. With her own artwork behind her, Lido Pimienta acknowledged the land before asking the crowd to make space in the front for Black and Brown women and trans people. Her performance, one that I can still feel in my bones, affirmed and celebrated the existence, resilience, and magic of those very identities she brought forth.
Like her set at sappyfest, her new album, Miss Colombia, starts with the sun (sol) and ends with the moon (luna). The opening (and closing) track, “Para Transcribir,” mimics the essence of these calls for racial and gender justice with cries that flutter from pain to glory. In tracks like “Eso Que Tu Haces,” “Tu Queria,” and “No Pude,” the industrial reggaeton beats, as triumphant and colourful as she is on the cover of the album, demanding any and all bodies to move. Her voice, ethereal and warm, recounts the intricacies and dualities of love and grief (Nada), of coming home to self and a reclamation of beauty (Pelo Cucu), and of resistance to colonial and state violence (Resisto Y Ya).
“Miss Colombia weaves together lyrics, movement, sound, and visual art that is critical and cynical yet caring and hopeful.”
Intentional, layered, and complex, Miss Colombia weaves together lyrics, movement, sound, and visual art that is critical and cynical yet caring and hopeful. The very title, Miss Colombia, is both an investigation of misogyny in Colombia and a yearning for homeland. It embeds and honors traditional Afro-Colombian music and practice in a cross-generational, reimagined soundscape. It requests and desires an emergence of possibility and nourishment for all Black and Brown women, girls, and trans people.
In a sonic and visual arts landscape that is saturated with white supremacy, misogyny, and colonialism, Miss Colombia invites, centers, and brings to the front Indigenous and diasporic experience, femme and trans identity, and a re-telling of histories and cultural preservation.
nik a basset is a cancerian (read: tender) transmasculine cowboy-adjacent music organizer, creative writer, and community educator. they grew up in a country bar in the north end of winnipeg, mb and moved to halifax in 2018 after completing their masters in southern ontario.