There are many examples of talented artists with Colombian roots who are leaving a mark in the international scene. And, Mónica Giraldo is one of them, she is also a charming woman and singer. But for many, her name is new. And, as Colombians we tend to forget that our musical heritage is broad.
Giraldo studied architecture but her passion has always been music. At Berklee College she studied with a scholarship. And, in the Folk Festival she represented the Baranquilla carnival with bambucos. We are so proud of that!
I loved knowing that her goal is not fame, but I think fame will pay her a visit. She makes me feel comfortable and at ease because she is humble, convinced of her art and the art of Colombians. She wants to be an eclectic artist: she wants to mix everything. This means that she combines rock with ballad, pop with boleros, bambuco with bosa nova, trip hop with acoustics.
She tells me that music is her way of participating in this world, it is her way of saying what she thinks and feels. It is a place of protection and at the same time a door of communication with the world that surrounds her.
Colombian music is trending at the moment and it has such an immense cultural richness it will conquer all obstacles.
Between two roads
As she told me, she is in the middle of two roads. The first road takes her deeper and deeper into the heart of Colombian music, surrounded by the power of its traditional rhythms. The second takes it away, motivated by the sounds of the world.
Mónica is a Colombian singer-songwriter who released two independent albums before being nominated for the Latin Grammy in the category of Best New Artist in 2008.
She has a fairly broad professional background. She has been working for a long time and very consistently. When she returned to Colombia, she recorded several albums: Muy Cerca (2005) with producer Felipe Álvarez de Polen Records. Todo da Vueltas (2008) with producer Mauricio Pantoja and the independent label Codiscos, which earned him a nomination for Best New Artist at the 2008 Latin Grammys.
She also released Que come la vida (2014) with Polen Records, and her new album Bajo el mismo cielo (2017) co-produced by Giraldo, Mauricio Pantoja and Andrés Peláez. She has also had the opportunity to collaborate with several artists in selected albums, such as Mestizajes in 2010. La Voz de mi Padre in 2011 and in 23 – 2014 with Café Latino and Café del Mundo de Putumayo Records.
Giraldo has been a part of the music world since the moment she was born. Hearing the voice of her father, Alfonso Giraldo, who plays guitar and is a great singer.
Solkes: Why are you interested in traditional rhythms?
Mónica Giraldo: Colombia has an immense cultural wealth that translates into its rhythms and its music. When I studied at Berklee College of Music, I reaffirmed that what I could contribute to the international scene was the knowledge and expression of my own music. I have confirmed this with every album and concert I’ve had. Countries like Brazil, Cuba, Argentina, have managed to magnify their rhythms and take them to the world. I believe that Colombia has that same potential. The richness of Colombian music is infinite in all its regions.
We don’t have a consolidated music industry, we have something that was imposed on us and it is difficult for us to believe in our own things. To make your own path takes time, effort and love.
Without much hesitation she assures me that the most difficult thing is to live in such a contradictory country, a country that inspires so much and at the same time makes the professional path of music so difficult. The positive thing is that we are moving forward, there are very strong, talented and committed artists who have paid their way and today Colombia begins to have recognition.
Solkes: Do you think musicians should compose? Why or why not?
Mónica Giraldo: Musicians have different ways of participating, some of us are good at composing and performing, others are very good at being producers, at being professors, at making music therapy, at making music for films, or at doing their work from the promotion of music … music has many ways of being reaching an audience. Then, the musician must do what is best in his art and talent.
Solkes: What is the hardest thing to compose?
Mónica Giraldo: The most difficult thing and at the same time the most fun, is to play with the muse so that “she” presents itself … that is, to be sensitive enough and not to let those moments escape.
According to her, there is always an emotion that becomes a song. That emotion can be very concrete, henceforth we have to magnify it with music, with sound, and in with the right words.
Solkes: What do you tink about culture?
Mónica Giraldo: I have always thought that through culture spaces of well-being are created. Culture unites and heals. Culture reaffirms and lightens the path and inspires you to think. Good music, as well as architecture, art, literature evoke positive states of the human being, moments of reflection … that feeling and this idea has always driven me.
Power in our roots
There are some artists who have influenced her. In the tradition scenario, her father and Totó the Momposina. From the avant-garde, Marisa Monte, Julieta Venegas, Natalia Lafourcade and a Canadian singer named Feis
She wants to continue to better her compostitions in order to talk and collaborate with great artists. There are many things she still wants to do, many songs and connect people with the new Colombian music.
Giraldo trully believes that given that music (in this case we are talking about the Colombian) is a click away with all the streaming platforms and therefore people should take advantage and be curious. Everyone should look out for Colombian music artists. She also assured me that there is everything for everyone in the traditional and avant-garde scene!