Originally trained as an historian, Valentina is Chile’s leading female folk/tango singer in the UK. Valentina is well-known in Scotland as a political exile of the Chilean regime, whose artistic output reflects and comments on this cultural background in addition to being a contemporary UK-based singer/songwriter and writer.
Valentina holds a degree in Comparative American Studies and also a Master’s degree in History. She writes lyrics, poetry, and short stories, in Spanish and English. A multitalented artist, she also draws – her favourite medium is pastel/charcoal.
She formed her band, Valentina and Voces del Sur, with her Scottish partner, David A. Russell. The band made their debut at the legendary Bongo Club in Edinburgh, playing feisty songs of revolution and love. Coincidentally, it was here that Valentina met the renowned Scottish ensemble, Mr. McFall’s Chamber (with whom she also began an ongoing and fruitful collaboration singing tango).
The band performs in Spanish, drawing on a wide range of music within a broad umbrella of Latin American folk styles, including chacareras, Argentine zambas, valses, Cuban son, Afro-Peruvian songs, cuecas and songs from the Chilean New Song Movement. They aim to keep alive and rejuvenate music traditions on the margins of mainstream culture and to celebrate the musical roots of Latin America, revealing thereby the context of their making and how they are relevant today.
They have toured the UK, with concerts in Portugal, Greece and Chile, playing a broad repertoire of Latin American folk music and their own songs.
As part of a separate project, in April 2013 Valentina launched a CD of tango music, ‘La Pasionaria’, with Mr McFall’s Chamber. The record features her own songs and enjoys the participation of Argentine bandoneonist Víctor Villena and French violinist Cyril Garac. This was her second recording with the ensemble, which follows the notable disc ‘.
In 2017 Valentina also sang the lead role in ‘’ for Mr. McFall’s Chamber’s recording of Piazzolla’s masterpiece – in addition to performing the piece in various venues in Scotland.
This year Valentina’s story ‘La Chascona y sus cuerdas‘, a short story about Violeta Parra, was published in London, in a bilingual anthology which celebrates Violeta Parra’s centenary. The book, published by Victorina Press is titled ‘Violeta anda en tierras extrañas/Violeta Walks on Foreign Lands‘.
David, meanwhile, has recently arranged a selection of Cuban son for solo guitar which he will record this year in addition to the second part of ‘Daughter of exile’.
In November Valentina’s poem ‘La casa de Neruda, tercera patita en décimas’ won the Victorina Press ‘Voces’ Poetry Award 2018 and was presented with her prize at the Lyric Hammersmith, London. It is featured in a bilingual anthology of poetry entitled ‘Vo(i)ces’ and will be launched online shortly.