Iaki Vallejo - Bird's Basement
The singer and composer Iaki Vallejo, was born and raised in Colombia. She is currently based inMelbourne, Australia. Her voice is powerful, intense and warm and stands out in her vocalimprovisation 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 beenthe female voices with a strong stage presence.
Iaki started participating in the festivals of Tuluá, her hometown in Colombia, at 12 years old. In1992 he won the Best Song and Performance Award at the Colombian Festival del Pasillo inAguadas, Caldas, with a song by composer and tiplista Gustavo Adolfo Rengifo, former director ofthe Mono Nuñez Festival. She studied singing at the Popular Institute of Culture of Cali and at theUniversidad del Valle. Later, in Australia she studied improvisation and jazz singing with theAustralian 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 internationalcareer has been developed in Europe and Australia. In 2000 he moved to Italy to refine her styleand it was in Rome, with the Italian pianist Arturo Valiante, who explored jazz and sang withdifferent 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 privateart 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 Australiancomposer and drummer David Jones, professor at the ‘James Morrison’ Music Academy in MountGambier. Jones, after listening to her compositions, was convinced of her great potential andproposed 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 wasMargarita, a theme that launched and fully confirmed the talent of Iaki as a composer and allowedher to deploy skillfully in improvisation. “We set out to record and when David Jones began to playmarvelously the drums and the Kalimba, an African instrument similar to the marimbula, the magiccame: 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 andarranger of Cali. The debut concert was held at one of the most prestigious jazz clubs inMelbourne, ‘The Bennett’s Lane’. Iaki has been awarded with important recognitions like the Awardto the Best Voice of Melbourne in 2009 and ‘The Peace award in 2016, given by the ‘InternationalFederation 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 Square2017 – 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, Melbourne2019
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 anode to the confluence of native American and black African cultures that came together in theAmericas during the time of the Spanish colonies. In Iaki’s own words: “It’s my own story. I am theresult of this fusion. My own ancestors were black on one side and indigenous on the other. I amproud to carry this mixture in my veins. It enriches me.” In true Vallejo fashion, she has assembledan all-star 7-piece band behind her, with musicians born in 6 different countries and very specialcameo appearances by Senegal-born Lamine Sonko, lead singer of the African Intelligence andGuinea-born, master Kora player Mohamed Camara.