The Bone-Rattling Energy of Camila Moreno

She combines folk, rock and pop music with a voice so strong and powerful that it gives you the chills. After learning guitar chords from her mom at an early age, she started composing music when she was just 17. Eight years, two albums and a Grammy nomination later, 25-year-old Camila Moreno has taken Santiago, Valparaíso and Coyhaique by storm with her band Los Disfruto and given the world just a taste of what her ground-shaking musical energy has in store.

Photo courtesy Camila Moreno
Photo courtesy Camila Moreno

At shows around town, the singer-songwriter abandons the amplifiers, microphones and other distortions to get face-to-face with her audience. “I don’t like distance between the spectators and the artist,” Moreno said. “They are part of the music, too.” At a recent show, Moreno sat at the edge of the stage to perform, supported only by instruments and the audience clapping to the beat.

Photo courtesy Camila Moreno
Photo courtesy Camila Moreno

Amplification, she says, develops a separation between the artist and the audience. In fact, that’s part of why she prefers to play her music in the streets. “You have to shout. You have to make a real effort to be heard,” Moreno said. “And I like that, because you have to really stand up and put in a lot of energy. On stage you can control the energy, but in the streets you can’t.”

And whether she’s onstage or on the corner, Moreno’s powerful voice carries such intensity that you can feel it rattle your bones. She says it’s due to the passion and depth of her emotions. “Everything I feel is very strong. So when I’m happy, I’m really, really happy. And when I’m sad, I’m really, really sad, because I feel everything deeply. I don’t have superficial emotions. I cannot. I don’t know how to do it,” she said.

Her songs reflect that intensity. She calls “Milliones,” her Grammy-nominated hit about power abuse and injustices within the government, a “shout against the system.” She uses another song, “Cae y Calle,” to reflect on her several near-death experiences, which she says have given her a good relationship with death. “I am not afraid,” she said. “Things can’t be controlled.”

Photo courtesy Camila Moreno
Photo courtesy Camila Moreno

Since learning the guitar, Moreno has also picked up the cuatro, accordion and charango and has been involved with various bands over the past decade. She attributes her influences to every part of her life, and finds particular inspiration among fellow female artists like Violetta Parra and Bjork.

Following her Latin Grammy nomination in 2009, Moreno released her second album, Opmeitomsimla (the name of her debut album, Almismotiempo, spelled backwards), in November 2010. The best way to hear her, of course, is at one of the many live shows she plays all over Santiago. If you take the opportunity to see her play, her voice and lyrics filled with depth and passion will resonate within you for days.

myspace.com/camilamoreno

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