Warmi, Magaly Solier

Phantom Records, Peru
Rating: 74
By Carlos Reyes

Magaly Solier should be a familiar face for us Latino Cinema enthusiasts, with only two films under her filmography the 22 year old beauty has become Peru’s dearest actress. I remember watching the brilliant Madeinusa helmed by first time director Claudia Llosa and watching the promising girl that carried the difficult movie with plenty of command and charm. Early this year La Teta Asustada won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, during her acceptance speech she sang part of a song in Quechua that gave everyone shivers and left Berlin’s jury president Tilda Swinton in tears, their second film working together brought all the attention and the opportunity for Solier to fulfill her dream of making music. Cutting away the Cinderella story, Magaly Solier is a solid debut that is fortunate for the most part; it doesn’t lack ideas and breaths beautiful moments of indigenous and provincial outreach. The album is mostly in Quechua, and of course not knowing the language or the culture, there is that expected distance that although is fascinating to discover, it becomes an alienating experience. The album is heavy on charango, quenas, and violins; Solier is the mind behind it all and the sensitivity in her voice is beautifully naïf. She sings about her people for her people, and it’s wonderful that it never steps in encyclopedic ambition; although I did learn that ‘warmi’ means woman and so it does have an unconditional sense to make people aware of the culture. The first song “Citaray” takes you right into the sound, yes it is traditional Peruvian folk but Solier’s playfulness with vocals approach the alternative scats of Lila Downs. “Para Para” is like a gigantic celebration and the album’s most vibrant piece. Among the songs in Spanish, the clear standout is “Porque me miras asi”, which is very sweet and the one song that could actually make it into regular radio. But there’s a song that is really captivating and a revisit to Madeinusa, “Ripu Ripusajmi” is a jaw-dropping protest song for the Quechua woman, the musical accompaniment is exquisite and up to the moment as it tells the story of a girl escaping from the physical abuse of her father: “seguro tu padre borracho, seguro tu padre machista, cuando decidiste marcharte .. siempre te golpea tu padre.”