Iaki Vallejo - Bird's Basement
The singer and composer Iaki Vallejo, was born and raised in Colombia. She is currently based in
Melbourne, Australia. Her voice is powerful, intense and warm and stands out in her vocal
improvisation style and in her interpretative capacity. Iaki incorporates Afro-Colombian music, jazz,
soul, salsa, afro-beat, funk, neo-soul and reggae into her compositions. Her inspiration has been
the female voices with a strong stage presence.
Iaki started participating in the festivals of Tuluá, her hometown in Colombia, at 12 years old. In
1992 he won the Best Song and Performance Award at the Colombian Festival del Pasillo in
Aguadas, Caldas, with a song by composer and tiplista Gustavo Adolfo Rengifo, former director of
the Mono Nuñez Festival. She studied singing at the Popular Institute of Culture of Cali and at the
Universidad del Valle. Later, in Australia she studied improvisation and jazz singing with the
Australian pianist, singer and teacher, Sharmi Russel, and with the Italian master Cosimo Ciccone.
Iaki has traveled the world to expand her artistic vision and find new inspirations. Her international
career has been developed in Europe and Australia. In 2000 he moved to Italy to refine her style
and it was in Rome, with the Italian pianist Arturo Valiante, who explored jazz and sang with
different formations of that genre. In Italy she also developed her innate ability as a painter,
studying oil painting and watercolor with private masters, and creating her own works and private
art collection. In 2008 she moved to Australia to form her own band for the first time.
Her career as a composer had a defining moment in 2013, when she met the famous Australian
composer and drummer David Jones, professor at the ‘James Morrison’ Music Academy in Mount
Gambier. Jones, after listening to her compositions, was convinced of her great potential and
proposed the co-production of a couple of songs on her first solo album. Aronde was the first song,
a bullerengue of Colombian folklore from which she made her own version, while the second was
Margarita, a theme that launched and fully confirmed the talent of Iaki as a composer and allowed
her to deploy skillfully in improvisation. “We set out to record and when David Jones began to play
marvelously the drums and the Kalimba, an African instrument similar to the marimbula, the magic
came: the verses and the melody of Margarita began to flow, it was a perfect harmony”.
“Margarita- Absolutely as beautiful as music can get.”
Jer@SBS Sleepingbagstudios, Canada.
In 2016 she released her first album, ‘Iaki Vallejo’, which includes the songs Margarita and Aronde,
and the rest of the repertoire produced in Colombia by Cristian Villota, renowned producer and
arranger of Cali. The debut concert was held at one of the most prestigious jazz clubs in
Melbourne, ‘The Bennett’s Lane’. Iaki has been awarded with important recognitions like the Award
to the Best Voice of Melbourne in 2009 and ‘The Peace award in 2016, given by the ‘International
Federation of the Peace of Melbourne’. Some of her most important concerts include:
-Melbourne International Peace Concert, 2016, Night Cat – Melbourne 2017, The B.East,
Melbourne 2017- Kew Court House Concert, 2016 Melbourne – Viva Festival, Federation Square
2017 – White Night Melbourne 2017- White Night Ballarat 2018 – Ventana Street Festival 2018-
Frankston Library Sundays Concerts 2018 – Concert at Teatro Salamandra, Cali, Colombia 2018-
Moomba Festival, Melbourne 2019 – Victoria Multicultural Festival, Federation Square, Melbourne
Iaki is currently getting ready to release the first single and video of her new music production
“India soy, negra soy” on 29th March with worldwide distribution by Ditto music. The song is an
ode to the confluence of native American and black African cultures that came together in the
Americas during the time of the Spanish colonies. In Iaki’s own words: “It’s my own story. I am the
result of this fusion. My own ancestors were black on one side and indigenous on the other. I am
proud to carry this mixture in my veins. It enriches me.” In true Vallejo fashion, she has assembled
an all-star 7-piece band behind her, with musicians born in 6 different countries and very special
cameo appearances by Senegal-born Lamine Sonko, lead singer of the African Intelligence and
Guinea-born, master Kora player Mohamed Camara.