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Ditto Blog

Interview With Iaki Vallejo

Iaki Vallejo hails all the way from Colombia, but now calls Australia home. Her music music is filled with Latin American flavour, with hints of sounds from the world over. We caught up with her to chat about her aspirations and the differences between Australia and Colombia.


Your self-titled debut album was written in both Colombia and Melbourne, and celebrates everyday life in both countries. Tell us a bit about the differences between Australia and Colombia from your perspective.


In my opinion there are many differences between both countries as there are similarities. Indigenous people originally inhabited Colombia and on the arrival of the Spanish and the Africans, a diverse country rich in cultural heritage was created. Same as I have learnt about Australia, its origin, its heritage and its multicultural richness. In Colombia, music is more than art; music is life.

Colombia’s diversity gives value to our music, creating rhythms maybe impossible to reproduce anywhere in the world. Music is a reference of being. We listen to music everywhere and all the time. Despite we are a country that has lived an internal conflict for more than 50 years, when you have the opportunity to meet a Colombian, this person always smiles remembering our country, and in most of the cases Colombians are proud to become ambassadors of our cultural traditions around the world. That is part of the story I’m telling in my album; how proud I am of my cultural heritage.

Australia I guess is a country that has been luckier in that sense. Yes, there are the everyday problems societies face, and political successes and failures I don’t need to mention here, but people from around the world choose to come and live in Australia because it is a country of opportunities. Thanks to this we are lucky to enjoy music, styles and genres from around the world because of the diverse number of cultures who have come together in this amazing country, which today I call home. And that is the other story I tell in my album.


How has the move to Melbourne changed your musical style?


I can say I have a freer approach to music these days and now I feel more relaxed when it comes to writing songs. Having the opportunity to immerse myself as an artist in the enormous variety of cultures and music styles in Melbourne, have ended up into influencing my own music. I have opened my mind into letting myself express my feelings and discover new sounds, new colours and I also dream to find other artists who would like to work along with me to create amazing things. In the near future I would love to work with an aboriginal artist.

I have learnt to engage that traditional music I grew up listening to and that I am proud to carry in my veins with all that new world of musical information I have had the opportunity to acquire in here. Thanks to this I have been able to create my own recipe. I have also been very lucky to work alongside the marvelous Master drummer David Jones in my song “Margarita”. David plays the kalimba, an African instrument, as other instruments from India and the Tibet.


You are launching your album at Bennetts Lane, in Melbourne. The stage has seen some of the biggest legends in music grace the stage such as, Prince, Harry Connick Jnr and Maceo Parker. What does it mean to you to be playing on a stage that such legends have performed on?


Since I arrived to Melbourne and established my music project in this city, I have visited and performed in different venues. I dreamt for a long time to have the opportunity to perform at Bennetts Lane. I can’t express with words how grateful I am of this opportunity and how honoured I am to launch my album in such prestigious venue. It is known that the mystical Prince always chose to perform in magical small venues after his majestic concerts in big arenas and as you said he chose Bennetts Lane. This place is without doubt enchanted by the voices and melodies of these legends and invaded by the talent of the many artists that have performed in there. I feel very flattered and I hope I can play in there many more times.



What can the audience expect when they come to one of your live shows?


I will be telling a story, so I guess it is going to be a night full of emotions that I will transmit to the audience throughout my lyrics. People can expect a show full of energy and passion, as they have to be ready for some dancing!


I you could wish for one thing to happen in your career this year, what would it be?


I have many wishes for my career this year… but if I have to choose only one, I would say I am wishing to find a great manager who would like to work hard with me to make my many other wishes a reality.


Iaki plays Bennetts Lane this Thursday, July 7th. Grab your tickets here.