Iaki Vallejo – Soundcloud Singles – Singles Review
There is a pretty inspiring story that accompanies the uplifting world-music rhythms of Iaki Vallejo. When you read about her at her homepage and social-media, you really get the sense that this fine woman has truly followed her dreams with all the passion and heart it takes to succeed in music. Born in Colombia, she’s travelled around the globe while finding new inspirations of her own and refining the creative vision of her art & music.
The seven songs we’ve got our hands on right now all come from her upcoming album, being released officially on July 7th of this year – and of course, it’s easy enough to have scanned our reviews to know that this style of music by Iaki is certainly unique to our pages…but let’s face facts – it’s not just unique to our website, her music is quite unique overall. Iaki has a true blend of exotic flavor in sound that’s inspired by her worldly-experience and roots in traditional Colombian music…inspiration you can truly hear in the diverse nature of each and every song.
Keep in mind though…we’ve got advance-copy here…I’m not entirely sure of what the official order is on the upcoming album. I began the adventure in sound with the most recent song posted, called “Te Olvide” – which immediately sounds like an entire celebration and Latin-jazz-jam spectacularly all rolled into one. Fantastic drums and bass…great backing vocals, horns and brass instruments keep the music moving at a quick pace while Vallejo sings with style and charisma overtop. There is so much LIFE to her vocals…she sounds so incredibly right into the music, you kinda can’t help but fall in love with the performance. She has a great range in her vocals that sparkle & shine – but she’s also got a serious amount of talent surrounding her in the instrumentation. The final switch in “Te Olvide” happens with just about a minute left…and it changes the entire sound completely. Quite honestly – I thought I was having fun already, but this last transition to a whole new-part really hit the mark; the ending of “Te Olvide” is completely awesome. Really can’t speak highly enough of the drums, bass and brass though – these musicians working with Iaki are certainly the best you can find – they sound amazing together.
Iaki sings in Spanish, but as we all know – music is universal to us all…and I like the completely uplifting enthusiasm and real LOVE of music that you can hear in her approach, tone and sound. “Buscando Por Ahi” has a completely unique atmosphere…it still plays on the big-production sound of Vallejo, but really incorporates a massive part for a jazzy-piano to exist throughout this track. As it tends to wander and play freely in the spirit of jazz, sometimes it wins and fits perfectly…a few other moments come out a little disjointed, but again, hard not to appreciate the passion in the performance. If anything, it might have been a bit too high up in the mix in comparison to the rest of the instrument…but that might have also been the intention to spotlight the performance. I think I appreciated the spirit of “Buscando Por Ahi” and its ambition more than anything. Great chorus in this song…overall the rhythm in behind the piano and the vocals are great, and I can dig that she’s trying something new by bringing the jazz-piano in there. Again, for me, it worked perfectly at times…at others it kind of felt like a bit of a competition rather than a cohesive performance together…tough one to call one way or the other, but certainly “Buscando Por Ahi” has some truly stunning moments to offer.
I really liked the percussion in “Ay Curura” and the way that this hypnotic vocal-rhythm works its magic. Using a repetitive flow works well here on “Ay Curura” – Iaki switches it up plenty enough, but the backing vocals stay constant throughout the vocal parts and much of the song and they sound fantastic. While it starts out in a much more intimate environment, this song bursts open with wild entertainment, beautiful piano parts and a big, full sound. The more I heard this song, the more it worked its magic on me…great rhythm here, bright melody and grooves and a stunning ending to “Ay Curura” makes this one stand-out for sure.
After the riotous ending of “Ay Curura,” on the Soundcloud list, it slips perfectly right into the warm, inviting atmosphere of “Lejos De Casa” which seems to showcase Iaki in a bit of a calmer environment. She’s still singing a tremendous amount of words, but she really gets to let the tone & melody ring through clearly on a track that keeps the music a little bit lighter in attitude. There’s a great solo in this song…not sure if those are steel-drums or what, but the percussion once again stands-out brilliantly. The progression of “Lejos De Casa” is a perfect natural building…the opening guitar notes and vocals work perfectly together…overall, I’d have to say that the beginning of this song is one of the most beautifully inviting sounds I’ve heard all year. From there the celebration continues and the harmonized vocals sound great in trading-off through the chorus and back into the smooth-flow of Iaki’s verse. Powerful stuff…all these voices together sound excellent and the uplifting enthusiasm in this performance is fantastic to listen to.
“Mi Barrio” heads back to the more familiar territory of Iaki’s music with its Latin-infused beat and piano combination. As far as I’ve read, this one has had a radio-remix and I’m assuming that means it’s the single for the album coming up…quite honestly, I’m not sure if I know what would have been the best choice. I think “Mi Barrio” represents her music, style and sound very well…I think it’s exciting in the way that it takes shape and develops over the course of its structure…I like the tribal-sound of the opening in the song…and really I don’t see any reason why this song shouldn’t be the perfect choice to put out into the world as the lead-single. I feel like arguing that I personally connect to “Lejos De Casa” a bit more than I do “Mi Barrio” – BUT…I also think that as far as the album is concerned, “Lejos De Casa” is the exception, not the rule. When looking at it that way, “Mi Barrio” makes much more sense as the song chosen to introduce the sound & style of Iaki Vallejo to the world.
Though…if I was pressed for the one song that truly captivated my imagination and captured my heart out of these seven, it’s without a doubt “Margarita.” Absolutely as beautiful as music can get. What I loved is that it’s basically all-percussion, and the results are absolutely stunning; Iaki sounds absolutely incredible in the soaring notes of this performance, ebbing and flowing with the energy in this music. It sounds like it’s flowing right through her and into her performance…the intimate nature of the atmosphere and the beautiful way she sings this song are pure magic. It’s about as stripped-back and minimalist in its instrumentation as you’ll find on her new record, but the clarity in this song is profound as a result – “Margarita” is a tremendous highlight and achievement in atmosphere & mood in music.
“Aronde” ends the experience with Vallejo’s music on an upbeat note and brings back the beat & wild-piano in another bright burst of energy that features the dueling vocals between the harmonies and lead-parts of Iaki. Once again, it’s a combination that sounds great as they trade-off between their different sets of vocals around the music that continues to build around them. Time is made for the instrumentation on this record, which I truly appreciate personally; you’ll find many solos throughout the music of Iaki’s album, and in particular on “Aronde.” A song that really makes time for everyone to have a moment in the spotlight – I think “Aronde” makes great choices in its structure and assembly, but I also think that the song itself reflects on something much bigger than that. I truly think…when you can hear a recording like this that is clearly supporting the talents of Iaki’s unique and powerfull dynamic vocals…that when you can HEAR all this time taken to represent the talents and skills of the musicians lending their talents through solos as much as there has been in these songs, that it also says a lot about the humble grace and collaborative spirit of Iaki Vallejo. She’s a bright enough star to shine whenever she grabs the microphone…and respectful enough to the music to take the time to acknowledge the brilliance of their performance as an entity and as individuals.
Vallejo’s got great energy, great spirit and great music all working in her favor – and world-music is always looking for a new superstar. It’s a tough genre to find the deserved recognition in…and I’m glad that I can be a voice in Iaki’s world and got to experience the songs from this upcoming record & proud to have her on these pages. You never know…a dedicated performer like Vallejo might be exactly the shot of enthusiasm and adrenaline that the world-music scene truly needs – she’s a dynamite entertainer.
Find out more about Iaki Vallejo at her official homepage here: http://iaki.com.au/
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