Elsa y Elmar

Feature image: ElsaFeatureImage.jpg. Elsa y Elmar is a Colombian award-winning singer, songwriter, and artist. Courtesy of Elsa y Elmar.

Feature image: Elsa y Elmar is a Colombian award-winning singer, songwriter, and artist. Courtesy of Elsa y Elmar.

Elsa y Elmar Creates Artistic Spiritual Pop Music

Elsa Margarita Carvajal, better known as Elsa y Elmar, is a Colombian award-winning and six-time Latin Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, and artist. Her passionate devotion has resulted in marvelous and blissful artistic, spiritual pop music. Elmar is a bright and colorful artistic human masterpiece who doesn’t take life seriously but genuinely honors her Colombian and Latin American roots and identity.


Elsa Margarita Carvajal, better known as Elsa y Elmar , is a Colombian award-winning and six-time Latin Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, and artist. Ever since Elmar can remember, music has been a constant in her life. It’s always been her passion and obsession. The first time she learned the chords on a piano by memory, the magical spark for music was born.


The beauty of creating music caught her. It became a passion and obsession that reminds her of being alive. She was born and raised in Bucaramanga, Colombia, a place that brings joy to her but also presents many limitations to her as an artist.

“The other day, I was asked who discovered me in the music industry. My answer is I discovered myself. It hasn’t been a path like the movies where someone goes into a bar and finds the artist playing their guitar,” Elmar said. “No. My path has been one in which I lived in a city where there was no way to make yourself known. There weren’t any bars, but there was this obsession of mine to create music.”

The obsession led her to believe deeply in her pursuit of music. That landed her at Berklee College of Music, where she studied music and came up with the concept of her musical project, Elsa y Elmar. She started uploading her music online and was grateful for the first person to listen. It felt the same way when one million people listened to her artistic, spiritual pop music.

palacio _3 3.png. Elsa y Elmar is pure art in everything she creates. Courtesy of Elsa y Elmar
Elsa y Elmar is pure art in everything she creates. Courtesy of Elsa y Elmar

During the initial stages of her project’s creation, she decided on her name, Elsa y Elmar. She chose Elmar, which translates to the sea, to honor the sea and create a metaphor for those around her.

“I released my first EP [extended play] in 2013 as Elsa y Elmar. It was a name that I invented because I wanted it to be a name that’s bigger than me. A musical project that included me, but also all the people, moments, and situations that are the sea,” Elmar said. “The people that support me and work with me.”

In that sea, she’s found herself on a long journey of firmly believing that her music belongs to some of the world’s greatest music circuits. It meant a journey in which she self-released most of her albums while enjoying herself as an artist who loves to create on her terms and from her own company and team.


To create in that manner, she’s gone through a process of understanding music and art as disciplines she didn’t choose. They chose her, and music is the constant in her life that centers her. It’s what she’s stuck to throughout time. It’s her safe place to express what she thinks and feels in ways she can’t in her “normal” life.

Music as an Art

Music is a space where she confronts herself and speaks about profound and personal subjects. It’s a way to rescue herself, and it goes hand in hand with visual aesthetics because her music is art, and her art is music.

“I think music is the most ingrained form of art in our genetic code. As long as there’s rhythm, we move. Life itself is a rhythm and vibration, and that’s music. Music is the form of art that I’m the most interested in,” Elmar said. “It has the power of becoming someone else’s belonging once it’s out and that’s very important for me. It’s like an offering [for the audience].”

For Elmar, art is one of the few ways human beings can express themselves and create masterpieces without it having a practical or useful sense.

“Even so, art has the utility of nurturing people’s emotional and spiritual bodies. So, it does have a utility, but it’s not a practical utility, so to say,” Elmar said.

For Elmar, that artistic non-practical utility manifests itself as a necessity for materializing and physically – or sonically – creating and bringing to life her inner world that no one sees. It’s the inner world that she experiences and feels. She’s creating because of a pulsating sensation.

“I need to do it. No one’s asking me for it. No one’s expecting it. No one cares about it at the moment that I’m doing it, but I have to do it. It’s as if I feel this need, but it’s not part of our current society’s needs,” Elmar said.

Elmar has defined that intense need for musical creation as spiritual pop. It’s an art form in itself. It’s pop, but spiritual. It might not make sense initially, but it’s a creation of music and art that unifies the banalities of pop music and the nurturing of the soul. For Elmar, it’s an act to heal herself through vivid and vibrant self-expression. Her artistic, spiritual pop music has resulted in the elaboration of four studio albums: “Rey” (2015), “Eres Diamante” (2019), “ya no somos los mismos” (2022), and “Palacio” (to be released on August 30, 2024).

PalacioAlbumCover.png. Elsa y Elmar’s beautiful album cover for her soon-to-be-released album “Palacio.” Courtesy of Elsa y Elmar
 Elsa y Elmar’s beautiful album cover for her soon-to-be-released album “Palacio.” Courtesy of Elsa y Elmar

Her spiritual pop also earned her six Latin Grammy nominations and various awards worldwide, including winning the John Lennon Songwriting Contest in the Latin category.

“Since day one, it’s been impossible to classify my music. We were not yet in the time where all genres merged. We were in a time when everyone wanted to classify what you did and I didn’t feel comfortable with the descriptors others gave me,” Elmar said. “I do pop. It’s familiar. My music has this capacity of reaching certain people. It’s not music that requires any type of effort to consume.”

It's pop and spiritual at the same time.

“But if the spirit is that [thing] we don’t see, but feel. It’s that intangible [thing] that all human beings have. So, it’s spiritual,” Elmar said.

The Musical and Aesthetic Process of the Intangible

In Elmar's music, the spiritual and intangible come together during her creative process for a song and album. She begins with a sense of necessity akin to basic human needs like food and sleep.This sensation reaffirms her that everything in her life is pulsating correctly. The intuitive process comes through when she spots that desire to create music.


She does a type of freestyle. She plays music, asks her producer for an instrumental track, grabs the guitar, or plays the piano. She lets go and allows the music to come alive. Then, she records everything. After about 15 minutes of letting herself go, she tries to make sense of what she was saying and doing. The creative process ends with her organizing the ideas and songs.


The creation of an album is a very similar process.

“It’s that [song process] repeated for a long time. In my case, it takes around two years. Repeating everything and finding that space for myself of wanting and needing to create a song. Once that [need] is born, the song happens,” Elmar said. “I go with my friend [producer] Julián Bernal. We locked ourselves up in the studio to produce and musicalize the songs beyond the guitar or piano [part] I made in the beginning.”

The album then comes to fruition with a vibrant sound palette. The wide variety of sounds and rhythms allows her to define her recognizable spiritual pop musical style.

“I have my own taste and vision. That starts directing the sounds to the point that [Palacio] being the fourth album, and I think that [the sound] is very evident. Whoever listens to it says: ay, this was done by this vieja. That’s Elsa y Elmar,” Elmar said.

Once the music is established, the definition of a vivid and colorful aesthetic comes next. Elmar’s aesthetic is characterized by brilliant colors that breathe life. She creates art reminiscent of Latin America in all its forms. You’d think that her bright colors come from her vivid Colombian identity, but her experience living in Mexico for the past seven years influences her the most visually.


The lively Mexican color palette is always present, whether in older music videos like “Ojos Noche,” “Planeando el Tiempo,” or the newest artwork for her soon-to-be-released album, “Palacio.”

An Ode to Popular Mexican Aesthetics

The “Ojos Noche” music video presents the clearest reference to Mexican culture and colors. It recreates moments during a romantic relationship in Mexico City. The video was directed by Barcelona and Berlin-based photographer and film director Laura Martinova . Elmar told her she only wanted to tell a story in that music video, and it had to portray where she was living and where she was creating the music.

As the video progresses, you’ll notice Elmar portrayed as a virgin in a vivid color palette full of oranges, reds, and pinks.

 Ojos Noche 3.png. Still from Elsa y Elmar’s “Ojos Noche” music video portrayed as a virgin. Courtesy of Elsa y Elmar.
Still from Elsa y Elmar’s “Ojos Noche” music video portrayed as a virgin. Courtesy of Elsa y Elmar

“In almost every corner of Mexico, there are small altars. They’re these glass boxes with really beautiful virgins dressed up very kitsch. Very divine with flowers. During the [creation] of the video, it was very intuitive. I said: I want to lock myself up in a virgin’s altar and create that scenario as if I were crying and suffering the song,” Elmar said.

Ojos Noche 5.png. Still from Elsa y Elmar’s “Ojos Noche” music video set in a traditional Mexican restaurant. Courtesy of Elsa y Elmar.
Still from Elsa y Elmar’s “Ojos Noche” music video set in a traditional Mexican restaurant. Courtesy of Elsa y Elmar

While Elmar explained “Ojos Noche,” she realized there’s a strong background reference to the virgin. She sees the virgin as someone who’s always crying and suffering her child’s death. In Elmar’s case, she was representing a heartbroken virgin that’s suffering the pain of a breakup.

Planeando el Tiempo 1.png
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Still from Elsa y Elmar’s “Planeando el Tiempo” music video. Courtesy of Elsa y Elmar.

With a less obvious reference to Mexican culture but a reminiscence of a Latin American grandmother’s house full of funky wallpapers, Elmar comes through with her music video for “Planeando el Tiempo.” It required a simpler creative process, but it’s quite captivating because the wallpaper’s patterns match Elmar’s distinguished fashion.

“The video’s premise was for it to be very aesthetic. Very based on fashion and textures. By coincidence, the directors’ sister was a fashion designer. So, it was a joint idea for the outfits to match with the backgrounds,” Elmar said.

Creating Elmar’s “Palacio”

Fashion, a vivid and brilliant color palette, and strong Latin American references are the key elements of Elmar’s aesthetic and music videos for her new album, Palacio. Elmar has collaborated with art director Pablo Resoalbe and film director Gonzalo San. Resoalbe is the creative director for Palacio, and San directed eight of the ten music videos for the album.


The creative process with them started when Elmar sent Resoalbe the songs, which were almost finished. Afterward, they began understanding and crafting a story for each song. That implied creating characters and depicting Elmar’s deepest and most intuitive aesthetic tastes. They explored her love for kitsch, Mexican markets, fruit stands, fake flowers, and plastic jewelry. It was an exploration and research to understand Elmar's appearance at her most elevated level.

“I was resonating a lot towards handcrafted art. Towards art that felt it had taken a certain time period to create, and I was also drifting towards digitality, screens, and social media. How communication has changed us so much, and we’ve created new emotions and feelings,” Elmar said. “We noticed Palacio has both things.”

palacio _3 4.png. Still from Elsa y Elmar’s “palacio <3” music video set in a museum-like space with original artworks done specifically for her album “Palacio.” Courtesy of Elsa y Elmar.
Still from Elsa y Elmar’s “palacio <3” music video set in a museum-like space with original artworks done specifically for her album “Palacio.” Courtesy of Elsa y Elmar.

“Palacio” reflects how Elmar has lived her life during the past two years and her emotional world. That’s when they came up with a beautifully captivating aesthetic.

“There’s this pixelated art. An ode to errors. What does an error look like? Ah. In the shape of [digital] glitches. Ok, let’s use the glitch to speak about errors. What does an error sound like? Ah, it’s a digital rupture,” Elmar said. “It’s badly cropped. In this project, I wanted to show the error and for it to be part of the audiovisual speech of freedom that I wanted to explore with myself.”

ElsayElmarWebsite.png. Image of Elsa y Elmar’s website with the glitch art. Courtesy of Elsa y Elmar
Image of Elsa y Elmar’s website with the glitch art. Courtesy of Elsa y Elmar

The glitches were transferred and handcrafted by Resoalbe in his sculptures used for the album’s music videos and cover art. Elmar explained they created art similar to Andy Warhol’s Factory but set in Mexico. It took them two months to craft the artwork. The artists locked themselves up in the factory to create each piece from scratch to achieve a handcrafted artistic universe referencing Latin America, setting the album's tone.

The music video creates an illusion of Elmar set in a museum. It’s the museum where the album’s cover was photographed and the space that safeguards the art that appears in the rest of the music videos. It’s a palacio or palace.

palacio _3 2.png
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Stills from Elsa y Elmar’s “palacio <3” music video showcasing the handcrafted masterpieces. Courtesy of Elsa y Elmar.

“The palace is an internal space that lives inside each one of us. It’s the space that we create, decorate, reform, and adapt through time. It’s a visual metaphor. At some point, the song says: ya tengo guardado tu espacio en mi palacio (I’ve saved your space in my palace),” Elmar said. “It’s assuming that you already enjoy a palace on the inside. A precious place that you decide to share.”

The palace’s beautiful artwork is seen or visto. It’s present at the beginning of the music video for “VISTO.” It transforms into the story of a famous artist who’s left on seen while texting and acts as if it doesn’t affect her emotionally. That required Elmar to work with Resoalbe and San to understand the visual narrative.

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“It’s about when you’re left on seen and a sense of humiliation and vulnerability is created. The story is about a very famous artist who’s left on seen. She’s trying to show through a photoshoot and her fame that it didn’t hurt her. That she doesn’t care about it when we all obviously know that she does care,” Elmar said.

Living Life with Blood “entre las piernas”

“VISTO” was created as simple as that. However, Elmar does enjoy diving deep into complex subjects and art. She portrays the complexity of being a woman experiencing menstruation in her music video “entre las piernas.” The animated artwork is a tremendous masterpiece that was created in collaboration with the animation studio The CRUX. They used flora and fauna to depict vulvas, breasts, and menstruation. It’s art in movement that portrays women as empowered beings while showcasing a visually aesthetic and pleasant representation of menstruation.

“When I created the song, I thought about the video and said: this song has to be an animation. An explicit video with human beings will diverge from the idea I want to show in this song. It’s not a grotesque or taboo idea,” Elmar said. “It’s about making it look like something natural. Just as natural as an animation. It’s the journey of a heroine through her own femininity, her menstruating experience, being a woman, expectations, and being a partner.”

entre las piernas 5.png. Still from Elsa y Elmar’s “entre las piernas” music video portraying menstruation. Courtesy of Elsa y Elmar.
Still from Elsa y Elmar’s “entre las piernas” music video portraying menstruation. Courtesy of Elsa y Elmar

It's the epitome of being a woman with all its complexities. It’s a masterpiece that came through after going through a music session while being super premenstrual. Elmar didn’t want to write about love or something boring. She wanted to sing about her menstruating experience and in that lyrical, quasi poetic process, Elmar succeeded in taking back her power by revendicating and reappropriating the words puta and perra.

entre las piernas 6.png. Elsa y Elmar’s beautiful universe created with animation studio The CRUX for the “entre las piernas” music video. Courtesy of Elsa y Elmar.
Elsa y Elmar’s beautiful universe created with animation studio The CRUX for the “entre las piernas” music video. Courtesy of Elsa y Elmar.

These are words in Spanish usually used with a negative connotation to insult women as sluts and bitches. Yet, she changed the narrative and made it subversive.

“The part of the verse that says puta pero tierna, curvy pero tersa is funny. On one hand, I wrote it because of these unattainable standards that we are given as women. Being a puta, but also tender. Being rellenita, but you can’t have cellulite. Being loquita, but always attentive to what others need,” Elmar said.

It’s a song that’s a revindication anthem.

“I can say: yes. I can also be puta. I can also be tender. I’m also perra and that won’t make me feel bad. I can say it to myself and it can help me describe how I’m feeling,” Elmar said.

The language is a great part of the powerful feminine universe she created through “entre las piernas.” She relied heavily on the flora and fauna to represent the female body and genitalia. Elmar explained that nature is very phallic and using it as a visual metaphor for the music video helped with masking the reality she’s singing about.

entre las piernas 4.png. The beautiful flora and fauna depicting vulvas and breasts in Elsa y Elmar’s “entre las piernas” music video. Courtesy of Elsa y Elmar
The beautiful flora and fauna depicting vulvas and breasts in Elsa y Elmar’s “entre las piernas” music video. Courtesy of Elsa y Elmar

“It’s a way to put them in people’s faces, which is what I wanted to do. I can’t believe that more than half of the human population walks through life with blood between our legs and this very common subject is a taboo,” Elmar said. “I enjoy forcing people to watch this under the innocent figure of an animation. I find pleasure in imagining sexist men watching this. Nature is a great ally to put this in the face of those who don’t want to see our realities in being women.”

entre las piernas 3.png. The heroine and the menstruation snake in Elsa y Elmar’s “entre las piernas music video. Courtesy of Elsa y Elmar
The heroine and the menstruation snake in Elsa y Elmar’s “entre las piernas music video. Courtesy of Elsa y Elmar

When Elmar speaks and sings about that reality, she reflects about her experience with menstruation. It’s one she associates with creating life in all its different ways: creating a human, a project, a family, and herself.

“I think menstruation is the remembrance that we have that power. That sometimes we’re considered a weaker gender, but no. We’re just as capable to create and bring to life whatever we want,” Elmar said. “That’s what menstruating is all about. It’s that reminder and phases of this potential [we have].”

The music video for “entre las piernas” depicts the visual representation of menstruation. Its aspect of life’s creation is portrayed with luscious vegetation and references to pre-Columbian art to showcase Latin America’s cultural and natural richness. Elmar and The CRUX animation studio created a universe that is attentive to specific details that create Latin American culture and identity.

What It Means to be a Woman

The marvelous and mystical universe sets a main character who’s a woman and honors her body. This visual depiction represents what Elmar believes it means to be a woman. It’s about being a human who has the possibility of experiencing many facets in life. It’s about experimenting with a wide variety of emotions and gestating life. It’s about bringing life to Earth and seeing the world through an emotional and sensibility lens different to a man.


Being a woman, especially in Colombia and Latin America, entails dealing with its challenges and difficulties.

“It means having many beauty standards. Many standards that tell you how to behave. What’s good and bad, but it also means having a very chévere connection with the earth, territory, people, food, and other women. It’s about community, which also defines Latin American women,” Elmar said.

entre las piernas 2.png. Still from Elsa y Elmar’s “entre las piernas” music video. Courtesy of Elsa y Elmar.
Still from Elsa y Elmar’s “entre las piernas” music video. Courtesy of Elsa y Elmar

Elmar's challenges are also present in the music industry, which she believes implies changing other people’s mentalities.

“You have to change people’s beliefs. You’re considered as less capable than men or bands conformed by men. It means others assume you have no control over your project, your music, or what’s seen [in your musical project],” Elmar said. “It’s always assumed that a man is in control and a woman is told what to do. It means you have to change those preconceptions about us.”

Elmar changes the narrative because she’s completely in control of herself and her artistic, spiritual pop music. She even created her own independent recording label, “Elmar Presenta,” which allows her to produce music at her own pace, however, she wants. No one tells her what to do, and she creates and marches to the beat of her own drum.

entre las piernas 1.png. The visual depiction of what it means to be a woman in Elsa y Elmar’s “entre las piernas” music video. Courtesy of Elsa y Elmar
The visual depiction of what it means to be a woman in Elsa y Elmar’s “entre las piernas” music video. Courtesy of Elsa y Elmar

She’s a trailblazing and empowered woman, singer, songwriter, and artist whose passionate devotion resulted in marvelous and blissful artistic, spiritual pop music. Her ambitions, discipline, and need to create music led her to perform at international music festivals this year. Her impressive music and art will come to life in the form of the “Palacio” album release in August. She will perform live in November at the Palacio de los Deportes in Mexico City, a major arena and one of the most outstanding achievements for any artist, specifically Latin Americans.


She embodies an artist who creates from the soul with vivid and brilliant self-expression. She is a bright and colorful artistic human masterpiece who doesn’t take life seriously but genuinely honors her Colombian and Latin American roots and identity.

“Being a Colombian and Latin American artist means being part of an industry that’s setting the tone on a global level. It’s a great sense of pride. When I was little, I’d say that if I grew up listening to Britney [Spears], other children around the world should grow up listening to music in Spanish,” Elmar said. “That’s happening now, and it’s very exciting to be part of this.”

To keep up with Elsa y Elmar’s artistic, spiritual pop music, follow her on Instagram at @elsayelmar, listen to her  Spotify, and visit her  website.


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