A wild tribal inner fire.
Fuego, Spanish for fire, is the main element Vanessa Forero wields in her stunning new EP. Known for mixing her Colombian roots with the best of singer/songwriter folk tropes, Vanessa leans fully into this mix to light a flame inside her.
One of the best things about Fuego is how the EP opens with the title track as a musical introduction. The album is almost entirely played on Colombian folk instruments and they sound so bright and crisp in the recording. Thumb pianos, woodwind, percussion and guitars known as tiple grace your ears and they all sound fresh. They lay out a rich tapestry for Vanessa Forero to sing her heart out over.
‘YHWH’ is a delicate and chilled out track initially. The guitars and thumb pianos interweave around the acoustic percussion to create something very South American. Vanessa refreshingly comes at things from a singer/songwriter perspective though and is loaded with 1-2 lyrical punches. You’ll not find Forero in the world music section even though her music is richly influenced by her roots but that is what makes her so unique. An interesting thread of Forero’s work is that she creates some rousing anthems that are played with all the vigour of a celebration but they are also quite sad too. ‘Light Your Fires’ falls just about under this category as the explosive choruses are a rallying cry to fire yourself up.
Columbian rhythms rule the sultry rock track ‘Play With Fire’ as slinky electric guitars turn the heat down low. The trotting drums sound like a Cajon that’s being cupped and the way how the track dissolves into a fuzzy shimmering dream is inspired. It is a track that knows fire can be seductive as well as powerful. ‘North Wind’ takes that dream world and leads a spooky spirited away acoustic track with heavy vocal layering. Again, it is as alluring as it is foreboding. The guitar playing is sublime and Vanessa’s softer vocals are creamy. The EP closes out with ‘Make Yourself’. In true firey spirit, the track starts out as a spark and finishes as a full-on blaze of chanting vocals, foot-stomping drums and powerful chords. The music is utterly defiant and so are messages in the lyrics. This is an EP about taking control, harnessing your inner passion and letting it rage.
Frankly, Vanessa Forero has released one of the best EP’s I’ve listened to in years. It is a marked step on from 2016’s ‘From the Uproar’ which I already adored. Fresh, original, passionate and empowering – this is a tour-de-force of what embracing your roots can do. A must listen.