The best music is always a reflection of life and the singers that can infuse their songs with a lifetime of experience tend to be the ones that make us sit up and take notice. Iaki Vallejo is one such singer. Born in Columbia, she grew up surrounded by loud music and vibrant life. As a child, even bedtime was accompanied by street music.
Iaki started to sing at school and was heavily influenced by the diversity of her family’s taste in music. She felt that “music had found her” and started to perform at every opportunity in restaurants, hotels, festivals and at private parties in her home town of Cali. She was so determined to perfect her singing that she used money she earned from house cleaning to pay for singing lessons. The lessons must have worked as she won local singing contests. Iaki says,
“since I can remember, singing has been all I ever wanted to do. I started singing at the age of four at school and then, motivated by a friend, in local singing competitions.”
She has truly been a citizen of the world moving from home in Cali to Bogota and then on to Spain, Italy and then to Australia. She has a degree in music and performing and has worked as a studio backing singer and as a lead singer. She has worked with renowned European artists and producers and this combined with her Latin American roots has helped her to be open minded in her approach to making music combining Afro traditional Columbian rhythms such as Bullerengue, Cumbia and Chande with jazz and funk, to create an explosive sound sourcing many cultures, but appealing to all of them.
Iaki has most recently lived in Australia, and has been singing in clubs and at festivals. Renowned drummer and percussionist David Jones, who has helped to record the album with her, has said she is one of the most exciting singers he has worked with in his 40 year career, and says,
“Iaki is a fabulous singer with powerful dynamics and phrasing”.
Iaki will be releasing a debut album in July, which can truly be called the result of a lifetime of making music. She says,
“this album reflects my story, my dreams, hopes and songs about my daily life. ‘Margarita’ was written about my mother-one of the biggest inspirations in my life”.
Iaki performs her charismatic, powerful world music with a ten-piece band full of world musicians from Australia, Cuba, Chile, Italy, Peru, and Columbia. Director and pianist Daniel Mougerman brings youthful enthusiasm as he leads an esteemed group of musicians. Miles Izzo on trumpet, Paul Van Ross on sax and flute, Ash Richter on trombone, Carlo Dellepiane on bass, Jethro Negron on drums and Cristian Saavedra on Latin Percussion are joined by Zoila Alvarez Padilla, and Guadalupe Alvarez Padilla on backing vocals. On July 7th Iaki will join this must-talented group at the iconic Bennett’s Lane in Melbourne’s CBD to launch her long awaited album.
Listening to Iaki sing, it is easy to appreciate her multi faceted voice which is comfortable in all sorts of songs. It’s not so easy to appreciate the vibrant sensuality that live performances add to the music, an advantage of growing up in Columbia where music is part of the very fabric of life. She feels that she has discovered a way to write music without fear and without borders and with no fear of criticism. Early listening is recommended and Iaki’s music will quickly become part of the fabric of your playlist.
Iaki Vallejo’s debut self-titled album will be released on July 7, on Ditto Music. You can preorder it now on iTunes.