You may not have heard of Ana Prada but she’s all over the radio here in Uruguay, in Argentina and Spain. She’s becoming popular in Brazil. And she just played the SXSW festival in Texas as part of “Sounds from Uruguay”.
Ana grew up Paysandu, a city of less than 80,000 people in the West of Uruguay’s interior. Like many Uruguayans at the age of eighteen, she moved to Montevideo.
Her sound comes from typical Uruguayan folclore music (you say, folk-LORE-ay) but for today’s audiences. Her lyrics are poetic, but with a wry sense of humour. She may be telling stories of love, death and loneliness but you come away from her albums feeling great.
The “I” album trilogy
Her three albums include ‘Soy Sola’ (2006), ‘Soy Pecadora’ (2009) and ‘Soy Otra’ in 2013.
They translate as “I’m alone” (in the sense of permanently so, not as a temporary situation), “I’m a sinner” and “I’m another” (as in, I’m different from how I was before).
Following Soy Sola’s success, Ana was nominated for “Best New Folk Artist” in Argentina’s Gardel Awards and for “Best New Artist”, “Best Soloist of the Year” and “Best Production of the Year” in Uruguay’s Graffiti Awards. Her album was nominated Revelation of the Year by Rolling Stone Argentina.
Soy Sola included mainly versions of songs written by others. But by her second album, Ana was writing virtually her own material, including the brilliant title song. Her sound became more urban, acoustic with electronic bases, though she continued using folklore rhythms –milonga, valsecito, chamame– as well as reggae.
The words of Soy Pecadora include the opening line “I am a sinner/ The (cards illustrated with pictures of) saints flee from my pocketbook.”
Soy Pecadora, which you can view at the start of this piece, was the first video clip from Ana’s second album of the same name. Ana Prada has championed LGBT rights in interviews as well as by participating in a pro-equal marriage campaign in Uruguay (Editor’s note: Uruguay was the eleventh country in the world to sanction marriage equality for all). The love interest in the video clip features (along with dancing nuns) a same-sex couple.
Ana Prada is amazing! How do I find out more?
Her website features a bilingual biography (whose English could use a good edit – maybe I will volunteer myself).
In Uruguay, beware that a best-selling album sells around 2000 copies, so it may be possible that the album you are looking for maybe out of stock.
You can check out Ana Prada live with this performance in Montevideo of “Tu vestido” with the great lead line “Today you put on/that dress/the forbidden one” also from “Soy Pecadora”.
Also check out the mysterious “Adios”
Follow Ana Prada on Twitter @anapecadora
Cover photo: Cristian Menghi