Written By | Gabriella Kemeny
The Grammy-winner iLe put the audience through an emotive journey last Sunday night at the auditorium of Lafayette, London.
The Puerto Rican singer-songwriter is one of those artists where the live performance can surprise the audience after listening to her music on Spotify. Her presence cannot be translated on records – how different she sounds when her whole being acts like an instrument on stage, an instrument of passion, anger, grief and joy, depending on the song.
See more photos of Ile HERE
Despite me not being a Spanish speaker, the passion of the crowd made it obvious that there were some powerful lines in almost all ot the songs, while she made the air electric by dancing like a snake, by smiling with the biggest smile and by setting herself herself on fire when it came to giving voice to her people.
ILe had the small crowd of Lafayette swaying and grooving to the rhythms from the very first note. She floated in to the dramatic opening song “A la deriva” (Adrift) from her latest album which served as a build up for ‘En Cantos’ (In Songs) the first track that made the audience dance properly – and they knew how to dance. It turned out that most of the crowd was Puerto Rican, which explained why the show felt like a celebration of identity through dance and music.
She certainly knew how to make the audience empowered with her words between performances (“We are strong, we are enough, we can trust ourselves”) and with her songs such as “Contra Todo (Against Everything)” of which the first verse translates to: I’m the invaded ground/Stolen nature/I’m improper thought/Scream of voice silenced – which has a personal, but also a deeper, political meaning.
See more photos of Ile HERE
While the Caribbean island has some measure of self-rule, it also has limited representation in Washington which people are more furious about than ever. Its economy is in trouble due to lost federal tax benefits, huge debt, natural disasters, COVID-19, government mismanagement, and declining population. No wonder such social issues create an environment where artists like iLe feel the need to express their anger and to find a way to give strength to their people.
Some of the most personal moments of the night were when iLe showcased the ballad “Quien Eres Tu (Who Are You),” a poignant composition by her grandmother, Flor Amelia de Gracia and when she performed the tender “Extraña de Querer,” a song penned by her sister, Milena Pérez Joglar. These tracks, both featured on her Grammy award-winning debut album “iLevitable” from 2016, added a resonant dimension to the experience.
ILe has plenty of sides, and her playful, seducing, and powerful selves all shined through on the stage. As said in an interview, “my music sounds different with the live instrumentations—you keep finding new ways of experimenting. It’s energetic and healing”. For the audience in London, it surely was.
Photos By | Aaron Mundow