By Kevin Vaughn
The first time I saw Sofia Viola play was at the Camorra Fest in Abasto’s Uniclub sometime in early winter. I had gone with some friends of mine that shared a strong affection for the music of Tomi Lebrero and Soema Montenegro, we paid little attention to the other names on the line-up. There was a girl at the show that caught my attention almost immediately, and as she moved around the room there was a magnetism that pulled my eyes towards her. With her hair cropped short and an oversized bright pink, flower-shaped watch she bounced around Uniclub in a big artisanal shirt that flowed behind her. When Lebrero began his normal on-stage jester she egged him on from the back of the room, cackling loudly at all of his jokes. “I want to be this chick’s friend,” I thought to myself.
And then she got on stage.
“Everyone shut your eyes,” she ordered, “Come on, nothing bad is going to happen.” I opened my eyes to find Sofia with a bright pink mask that V [for Vendetta] might wear if he practiced lucha libre. She began to strum her charango before erupting into a song that filled the entire room with her powerful and quirky voice, developing a set of songs that hung between the balance of humor and soul.
That sense of humor was repeated in what is probably the sweetest concert I have ever attended. On the 8th of August, Sofia celebrated her birthday at the CC Matienzo with an intimate concert amongst friends, family, and a growing and faithful public. She was also joined again by an ethereal opening by Soema Montenegro and her partner Jorge Sottile. One by one Sofia invited her family to join her, first her twin brother to sing a song, then her father to play his trumpet and finally her little brother to play percussion with his armpit.
Sofia Viola is this year’s revelation, now that I know her name it seems hard to ignore it.