Bogota Music Market 2019: 3 Artists to Watch

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Bogotá Music Market / CCB
Frente Cumbiero performs during Bogotá Music Market on Sept. 11, 2019 in Bogota, Colombia.

More than 800 artists submitted proposals for the eighth Bogotá Music Market (BOmm), one of the most important live and recorded music networking event in Colombia. The event, organized by the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce, seeks the formalization of all actors in the music industry in the country, a gargantuan task in a yet to mature sector in Colombia.

Of those 800-plus enthusiasts, a group of curators carefully chooses over the course of a month the ones who are ready move on to a next level. This year 257 of them got to talk to record labels, aggregators and festivals. Only 19 of them make it to the showcases, where they show what they got.

Established cumbia connossieurs, a former Esteman bass player with a passion of her own, and up-and-coming urban boy wonder, were some of the best the showcases offered Tuesday. Here are the three top artists to watch.

Frente Cumbiero: The explosive Mario Galeano, a producer who’s created multiple folk/tropical projects through the years (most recently Ondatrópica) continues to surprise and delight. Frente, his most important project to date, was present at the showcases after a quick stint in Brazil, where the four-piece musical act led by Galeano recently performed. El Frente released “Sondiramá” in October last year and their album Padremontes’ will probably be a must in stages worldwide in 2019 and a promising international festival season in 2020.

Elevn: Feeding off the speed and catching a bit of the nerdy-but-cool swag of Maryland’s Logic in the U.S., Bogotá local up and coming rapper elevn kicks up Colombia’s  powerful urban scene with sparks of trap and a lightning-fast flow. With over 90,000 streams per month on Spotify, elevn pushes the alternative hip-hop up a notch. He may lack the dexterity in the songwriting -- that can probably be fixed with time and a bit more exposure, no doubt -- but the one thing he’s not missing is hunger.

Soy Emilia: A sultry mix of urban sass and alternative indie culture, Juanita Carvajal’s music blossoms in your ears but blows up inside your chest. Following the steps of recent examples of indie Latin female empowerment acts such as Elsa y Elmar, Soy Emilia embraces the sensuality of reggaeton and dancehall without giving entirely into the exacerbated sexuality of the genre, thus paving the way for mystery, romance -- and why not? A bit of that delightful “perreo” vibe  too.

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