Catalina Maria Johnson

There is possibly no other single musician who has defined the state of Latin Jazz more than Eddie Palmieri, who turns 81 years old today.

The village of El Clavo lies just an hour bus-ride from the Venezuelan capital of Caracas, practically hidden in the lushness of the jungle. Centuries ago, the settlement was founded by rebel Africans who set up secret free communities deep in the brush of the region.

Several years ago, Julián Salazar — at the time guitar player for internationally-renowned band Bomba Estereo — spent some time on the Pacific coast of Columbia, an experience that motivated him to capture the lush, entrancing sonic landscapes of the jungle in his compositions.

About eight years ago, in a small club in Copenhagen, a then-unknown band named Bomba Estéreo grabbed us by the musical jugular. Singer Liliana Saumet strode across the stage as the group wrapped her incendiary vocals in a startlingly fresh mix of Colombian roots, propelled by a punk-psychedelic sensibility.

These days, Bomba Estéreo occupies a privileged space in the Latinx musical universe — it composed one of the most iconic anthems of Latinx identity, "Soy Yo." (Its video now has over 23 million views.)

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