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As Latin music made its way through the anglophone-dominated airwaves, it was only a matter of time before innovators like KORDELYA challenged even the sounds that the world has come to expect from our many exponents. KORDELYA pulls no punches with her acerbic wit in “Torero”, and she ultimately takes a playful approach to a subject most would sing about with some somber sobriety.

With a colorful balance of Hispanic-American influences “Torero” is unlike anything I’ve heard before, and I think most people will also be pleasantly surprised at the unique sound that the Mexican-American trailblazer, KORDELYA, proposes. One needn’t peel back the layers too much to hear and feel the harmonious -yet ultimately eclectic- juxtaposition of rhythms and genres. And while at first, one might be tempted to label “Torero” under a luscious Urban-Pop due to the intensely sensual and luxurious vocals of KORDELYA, there’s more still to appreciate. 


To really appreciate “Torero” (Bullfighter) from a cultural perspective, perhaps a bit of context is needed. Of course, the name and the internal metaphor that the song operates on to make reference to the controversial artform/sport/cultural practice of Bullfighting; the activity is strongly associated with Spanish identity and it is still practiced across South America in countries like Mexico, Venezuela, and Colombia. Though in recent decades the practice has garnered strong opposition from animal rights activists, the cultural and aesthetic value of this incredibly dangerous activity (Fighting bulls are usually well over a 1000lbs) is probably indelible from the collective consciousness of many nations.


For KORDELYA, the fascinating image of the bloodsport has served as an inspiration to use in her own work. “Toxic relationships have always been fascinating to me. They always seem so perfect when they start out that sometimes we are blind to the red flags just to feel loved again. ” she says, “The imagery of the classic “Torero” […]that uses a literal red flag called “Tercio de muerte” or “Third of death” as they go in for the kill always struck me as the perfect metaphor for this. By the time you realize what you’ve gotten yourself into, it’s the third act and you can’t seem to find a way out.” she leaves off.

Plainly written into the DNA of “Torero” there’s hints and pieces of one of the most important aspects of Latin music_ The Trumpet and the Trombone are essential for salsa and Latin jazz, and their harmonies and idiosyncrasies are all over this track. These instruments are also the backbone for “Pasodoble”, a Spanish genre of music that serves both as a military march and as the accompaniment for the most dramatic and ritualistic aspects of the same Bullfighting that has inspired  KORDELYA.


After a 2020 album debut (“Mal Hecha), a cool +2 million streams, and huge praise and notice from the press, she signed on the prestigious publisher BMG, with this new song being the charm that seals the deal as the first single of this new stage in her career.



Story: Samuel Aponte  Photos: Mike Anderson



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