Ángela Leiva, the Gilda admirer who brought cumbia to London

When Ángela Leiva was born – on September 11, 1988 – the tropical scene was on its way to a golden age, rather fluo, accompanied by what would be the Argentina of sushi with champagne and the dollar / peso one by one. Times of Gladys Nelly del Carmen singing like Gladys the exuberant, about to mutate into “La bomba tucumana”. Days of Ricky Maravilla signing contracts to sing in summer ’89 jet set parties in Punta del Este, of Lía Crucet avasallante, of Adrián and Los dice negros.

The move from his native Tandil to Lanús, at the age of eight, had the music of Gilda in the background. Miriam Alejandra Bianchi had died on a route -the 12, towards Chajarí, Entre Ríos-, but in Buenos Aires she was already immortal, to the rhythm of It’s not my farewell. In the new house, Angela heard that sweet little voice and projected hers. Goodbye, transformations, metamorphoses. Something was left behind, something was born.

Leiva believes in miracles, in the influence of that saint of the dances, not canonized by the ecclesiastical entity, but by the people. CHow not to believe in the impossible if Angela managed to sing cumbia in London hired as the banner of a Bolivian peña in England. Her little silent path led her to Stockholm.

From Tandil to Lanús and from Lanús to the world, Ángela Leiva.

Angela’s construction in a world monopolized by men could be the great trailer for her movie. How he made his way alongside male emblems like Antonio Ríos and how he took the Leiva brand on tour in the United States.

Angela María seems to flow in opposition to Karina, “La Princesita”: they call her “La Reina”, but she prefers to stay away from the controversy over dancing monarchical degrees. The first-born of three brothers, the granddaughter of a road builder who settled in Tandil, she grew up listening to her father, a carpenter, play the guitar. A cassette of “La Sole” infected that power to sing. “I used to steal her cassettes from my aunt to listen to on my Walkman,” he laughs. “Luis Miguel, Cristian Castro. Cumbia came laterWhen mom and dad separate for a while, he comes to Buenos Aires to work, they reconcile over the phone and we all move. “

In the south of Buenos Aires Leo Mattioli, Los Charros, Dalila sounded loud. The atmosphere was permeating “Angi”, who was in elementary school at Temperley School 52. “At 12 a teacher of social sciences and music proposed to put together a choir. ‘Who dares to sing?’, She asked. ‘Leiva, Leiva, Leiva’, the boys sang. I was very shy and began to be Angelita the revelation, the star of the neighborhood. We had moved again, this time to the San José neighborhood. “

Angela Leiva as a child, with her brother in the '90s.

Angela Leiva as a child, with her brother in the ’90s.

At 15 he met a group of musicians with whom he began to sing on birthdays. “‘Do you want to try a Gilda song?’ They told me. When they listened to me, they told me: ‘You’re not leaving here anymore.’ Thus began the era of Angie and The Faithful, three years of not earning money, but he did experience in front of the public, of getting into his father’s truck crossing the Conurbano. “They were all boys and I was the girl they cared for. I functioned as the sergeant of the band, the one who said what to do. My father accompanied me everywhere, he took us wherever he went.”

With the coming of age of Leiva, The Faithful disbanded. One morning, while Ágela was listening to the FM of Saturday passion, he found out about a casting of singers. “Mom wanted me to sign up and I said no. I was self-limiting. I was very ashamed. But a friend convinced me, I went to the radio, in Avellaneda, I sang, I won, and that’s how my professional career began in 2008, when I recorded my first record”.

Angela Leiva as a baby, with her parents.

Angela Leiva as a baby, with her parents.

In 2009 she made her debut on the American screen and within six months she was used to touring. “The first time was strange, the neighbors came to clap their hands at the house, to ask for me so that their boys could take a picture. At that moment the only income for the family was mine, my father had lost his job and we lived on what I generated. But they paid me little and I opened up, I threw myself alone with the one who later became my partner. And there was revenge. ”

-From the inside, did you live that murky part that is talked about, the dancing business with certain censorship rules, of areas where you have to pay a “toll” to sing?

-Yes, I experienced censorship, retaliation, they wanted to make me disappear artistically when I became independent. When I hear “the mafia on the move doesn’t exist” I say yes, it does. A pseudomafia, which is not how you see it in the movies. But you also feel that women today have a voice and vote, that they can denounce, that they are more listened to than before.


Angela Leiva, the cumbia singer who is nicknamed “La Reina”.

-What do you see in you that could be related to Gilda?

-I understand that comparisons are easy if you do the same genre. For me she is unique and it is an honor when they compare me. Some say my energy is similar. I love to honor her, she accompanies me as a model, I always take her to my shows. It is not my farewell, it is my cabal. I say the lyrics and it gives me goose bumps.

-Do you think that the contemptuous gaze of certain sectors changed in cumbia from when you were a girl to today?

-Yes, we have managed to make ourselves respected, to bring our music to the world. The nineties were a great time for cumbia, there was a characteristic aesthetic and there was everything from inventions to good musicians. I feel that we are marking a similar time that will remain in the history of the genre.


Along with Brian Lanzelotta in “Cantando 2020”. (Photo: Jorge Luengo).

Leiva’s work includes borrowed songs and her own songs with a clear pattern: heartbreak. His covers of Out of my life, by Valeria Lynch, u Once mil, by Abel Pintos, the platforms burst with reproductions. His repertoire is resignified after the gender violence that he denounced after the separation of his producer and ex-boyfriend, Mariano. “It was eight years that I handled my contracts, I fell in love and everything began to mix. I was not soaked in the business and at first everything was rosy,” he warns.

“I gave him my career. The relationship began to be toxic, I wanted to separate, I was not happy, and psychological violence began,” he says. “By giving him the reins of everything, he tried to convince me that without him I was nothing. It took me three years to separate. I put in lawyers, I had to pay debts that were not mine. I started again with nothing. I only took my clothes and the TV. I had nowhere to go, my mother had passed away, my father had returned to Tandil. The perimeter I requested is still in effect. “

Ángela Leiva (Photo: press)

Ángela Leiva (Photo: press)

In Bolivia, where Angela’s voice is all the rage, the doors of leadership were opened to her in a cycle of talents. “I never lived there, although it appears everywhere that I did. I traveled every Sunday, did the program and took the plane again. The Bolivian community made it possible for me to sing in so many parts of the world, to tour Spain, to take my cumbia to New York. They even called me from Japan, but I didn’t accept for fear of not understanding anything and being alone. ”

Among the most vibrant shows she remembers, Angela cites that of the 2014 qualifying rounds, in Bolivia, before the Argentina-Bolivia game, against Lionel Messi. He sang the hymn and “throughout the stadium there was a magical silence of respect.”

The AL whirlwind does not have rituals before going on stage, but confesses that every time he looks at the crowd that concentrates on his shows – or that was concentrated without a mask before the Covid-19 era – he “sees” his mother, like a mirage, living it. “She was my number one fan, the one who chose to see me from the stands, as a fan. I miss her.” That is what the success of his deep, almost Pimpinelesque performance is about, in part: singing with the past on top, exorcising pain in tow with the cumbia.

By streaming from the Astros

Angela will perform on November 7 from the Astros with My life in songs, a review show of her career. Tickets can now be purchased through Ticketek and have a cost of $ 500 pesos. Produces Dabope. Tickets cost 500 pesos and can be found at Ticketek.

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