LIDO PIMIENTA with JEF BARBARA, BIZZARH, NYSSA and TWIST at the Silver Dollar (486 Spadina), Friday (January 17), 9 pm. $7.50. RT, SS. TF.
Lido Pimienta's gig calendar gives a pretty clear picture of how resistant she is to categorization.
Sure, most musicians claim their sound transcends genres, but how many are literally playing with punk bands one night, rocking a dance party the next and making an appearance at an experimental folk music event a few days later?
"It's not okay to have to become the thing that other people want you to be," Pimienta states firmly, as if admonishing a child. "My whole thing is about defending my freedom.
"You can put me wherever. I'm not going to be scared. I used to be, but now I know that I don't have to please anyone. If I'm having a good time, it's going to show, and then everyone else is going to have a good time."
Pimienta got an early start as a musician, giving her first performance when she was only 11 in Colombia. After moving to London, Ontario, in 2005, she stumbled upon that city's noise scene, which helped launch her solo career.
"It opened my mind to this other realm of music, and other ways to approach experimental music. Because of where I'm from, there's a tendency to pigeonhole me: you're Latin, so you're supposed to sound like this, because you are the Other. So it was great to be in this group of freaks where my weird voice was embraced."
That avant-garde influence was mashed up with crisp electronic pop textures on her 2010 debut solo album, Color. It was a great showcase of that "weird" voice ("haunting" would be a better term) and led to successful tours of South America. It also got her lumped in with the nu-cumbia scene, a label she fiercely resisted.
Her upcoming sophomore album, La Papessa, should dispel some of those preconceptions. Less overtly pop than Color, it better represents the unpredictable raw energy of her live performances, and somehow manages to defy categorization even more than her impressive debut.