Lido Pimienta should be on your radar. In 2017, the Globe and Mail hailed her as Artist of the Year—and “the future of Canadian rock ‘n’ roll”—and she took home the coveted Polaris Music Prize for her self-produced album La Papessa (which translates to “The High Priestess”), winning against household Canadian names such as Leonard Cohen and Feist. The Colombian-born, Toronto-based musician sings in Spanish, unique in the predominantly Anglo-French Canadian music scene, and her lyrics explore the politics of gender, race, motherhood, and identity.
This summer, the interdisciplinary artist, musician, and curator participated in BIZIINDAN!, a Luminato-produced concert inspired by the surge of the Indigenous global revolution, which aimed to celebrate the power of music and the reclamation of language. “Biziindan” means “listen or listen to” in Anishinaabemowin, and with2019 being the International Year of Indigenous Languages, there is no better time to discuss this important topic. Read on as I chat with Lido after the concert about the show, what inspires her music, and what’s next for her.
To start, could you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
I am an artist based in Toronto. I am black and Indigenous to South America, and I am a super cool mum.
Have you always wanted to be a musician?
You know that Marilyn Manson song: “I don’t like the drugs but the drugs like me”? Music to me is that: “I don’t like the music, but the music likes me.” Loving music is one thing, but choosing music as a career is bananas. Music is life-saving but it is also inconvenient, especially when you are dreaming, and a melody starts happening—you will wake up and record it before you forget it. My fantasies include being a financial advisor who goes to work and knows exactly when they will wake up and when they will go to sleep. Did any of this make sense? I hope so! Apologies if it didn’t. I haven’t slept in a long time because the soundtrack of my dreams keeps me up!
How would you describe your music?
Melodramatic Avant Pop.
Do you write your own songs? What inspires them?
Being a WOMXN, giving birth, family, loss, pain…Period pain, migration…All that I am is what influences and inspires the writing.
What topic are you passionate about exploring through your music?
I don’t “explore” topics. I live my life and then sing about it.
Has motherhood changed you as a musician?
The music has more intention when you have children. At least for me, I don’t just make songs, I make art. I create anthems that will be timeless and that will ensure that I will be able to have a career for enough time to provide for my family.
Tell us a little bit about the BIZIINDAN! concert. And how did your involvement in it come about?
We were introduced to Denise [the Creative Producer/Director of BIZIINDAN!] a couple of moons ago at a LUMINATO event where Bear Witness and I were invited to perform together. He and I have had a long-time friendship, and we have always inspired one another and shared music, and sometimes we play together, so it made sense. We did the event and that was the introduction to Denise and her vision. When we got the call for BIZIINDAN!, it made so much sense to do the show, and with Denise being involved in it, I knew that I was in good hands.
So, “Biziindan” means “listen or listen to” in Anishinaabemowin. What do you hope that people will hear and what do you hope that they will be prompted to think about or reconsider?
People are listening. People are hearing the earth. It took a long time for a big group of people to do so, but people are listening to the water, to the earth, and the hurricanes, and the heat.
BIZIINDAN! aims to celebrate Indigenous global revolutions and reclaim Indigenous language. What does this mean to you?
It doesn’t mean anything in particular. It is simply the reality of those of us who are figuring out who we are. When one is a colonized subject by birth and by family, there is a hole that lives within us because our histories and herstories have not been heavily documented, and our Indigenous languages have been denied existence. When we make our work and we share it with others the feeling of home is tangible. That is our celebration: going home.
Who inspires you in terms of art, music, or in general?
My children. My friends. And the dream of freedom.
What’s next for you?
MISS COLOMBIA. New record. New documentary about the new record and my life. New videos and collaborations with amazing artists. Stay tuned!!