LatinoLa.com publishes an article on Laura's song "Peregrinos"
By LatinoLA News Services Published on LatinoLA: October 6, 2020
The year was 2018. Just a few weeks shy from Christmas, singer-songwriter Laura Valle, at the comfort and safety of her home in California, struggled to compose a traditional Christmas song of the season; her heart was just not into it. The news endlessly broadcasted stories of desperate migrants seeking asylum in America. Laura, who was born and raised in Argentina and traveled extensively throughout South America, knew the poverty and struggle of life under a dictatorship. She also knew the pain of uprooting oneself and leaving loved ones behind in pursuit of a dream.
Putting aside her songs of one of mistletoe, tinsel, and family cheer, Laura instead immersed herself in the stories of the migrants; women, men and young people fleeing from starvation, persecution, violence and death. In her own words, Laura said, "as I read about conditions in the Northern triangle of Central America (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador), I completely understood why these migrants would do anything to find another home beyond their borders." Thus, "Peregrinos" was born, a Christmas song like no other.
"Desde Venezuela camina Rocio y no piensa parar ni dar un paso atrás.
"Si no lo arriesgas todo nunca encontrarás el cielo en esta vida, mamá."
The listener is transported to the uncharted no man's land trodden by Rocio and millions of other migrants as they press doggedly forward, hoping to reach sanctuary in time for Christmas eve.
"América, quiero vivir en paz, gozar mi libertad. América, quiero llegar a ti; quiero llegar para la Navidad."
The recording of "Peregrinos" took place during an open mic at Studio 770 in Brea, CA, with Ron Kobayashi on piano, Sam Montooth on bass and Isaac Sanchez on drums. With rare serendipity, the jam-style session laced with improv captured the uncertainty of the migrants' winding journey. This is Laura Valle at her best: all heart, fusing a wealth of musical styles to convey her multifaceted vision.
Fortunately, Laura earned a scholarship to the Music Academy of Basel, Switzerland, and graduated with a degree in vocal jazz and music instruction. While residing in Switzerland, she toured with a range of bands exporting tango, bossa nova, jazz, and pop-flamenco to enthusiastic European audiences. The demand for Latin music was so great that one Saturday she sang in three consecutive gigs. However, Laura had a dream of going to California and pursuing a career in music.
Laura's own peregrinations began when she left the comforts of Europe for California. Leaving behind friends, band members, and a successful career, she crossed the Atlantic. "I had no money, no band, no car, but all the time in the world to start composing and experimenting with my own music." Over time, she found new musicians, new venues, and ways to sustain herself as an artist while she honed her eclectic style.
In 2007, she released her first album, Perlas, inspired by the country of Argentina and recorded in Buenos Aires. The album is a result of several collaborations with musicians and songwriters from Argentina, Switzerland, France and USA. It reflects Laura's contemporary vision with roots in her native Argentine tango and folkloric music.
Eleven long years would pass between her first and second albums, a painstaking renaissance where Laura grappled to find meaning and community in a new country. "Living in a different country changes you; you go from being homesick to realizing that you cannot go back because you already are part of the new place and you'd better keep on swimming instead of looking back. I started to discover a wide range of cultures and communities such as the Mexican, Hispanic, the beach community, the jazz musicians, the Asian communities and gradually created a new life that I truly treasure."
Laura emerged to new collaborations and an American dimension to her music, as showcased in Charismatic (2019), a heady melange of jazz, pop, funk, and soul infused with Laura's inimitable Latin passion. A third album, recorded in Buenos Aires in collaboration with notable Argentinean producer Juan Estanga and nearly complete, marries reggae, cumbia, flamenco, tango, jazz, bossa nova, and hip hop.
Having realized her California dream to become a singer-songwriter came at a cost, Laura was also compelled and indebted to dedicate one December day towards the plight of migrants plodding their last iota of strength to cross the border she herself had crossed years before. "Peregrinos" has poignant and stripped-down lyrics, sinuous melodies and soulful vocals from a songstress in a strange land who came fully into her gifts.
Laura has been teaching voice lessons for 12 years in Orange County. Visit https://www.vallevocalstudios.com/ for more info.
Laura is signed with Gloucester Records alongside Glasspirits, Mumkai and Dommme and her music is available on most major online retailers and streaming services.