First-generation Mexican-American artist Estevie arrives as part of the vanguard of those revitalizing classic Latin sounds on her debut EP Cumbialicious. She also has two SoCal dates coming up with performances at the Voodoo Room at the House of Blues in San Diego on September 30th and El Cid in Los Angeles on October 3rd. The 19-year-old singer/songwriter establishes herself as a magnetic representative of the traditional and regional styles that exist as part of her family’s musical heritage on the seven-track collection, while also updating them for a new generation.
Across her first EP Estevie fuses together a vibrant assembly of genres — from cumbia and regional to reggaeton — preserving their intoxicating rhythms even as she gilds them in lustrous pop. On “miami” she pairs a riveting rush of pop-punk drums with smoldering guitars before interpolating a sultry dance melody made all the more rapt by its sizzling accordion riffs.
Cuco joins Estevie on the Chicano-romancer “el paso,” its enchanting accordions and wailing trumpets entangling themselves in their irresistibly lovelorn duet. Then there’s the serenading slow burner “mona lisa” — a poignant bit of cumbia that initially bathes her vocals in an electronic aura.
Yet for all the effortless fluidity with which Estevie coaxes together modern pop and Latin music, nowhere on the EP is she more alluring than when embodying regional sounds like norteña on the heart-wrenching “como yo.” Or the thrilling cumbia-sonidera track “chuchuluco” — complete with a guïro-led percussion section.
Though there are plenty of reminders of Estevie’s stunning vocal range, the dreamy ballad “luna de sangre” affirms even when she’s not vaulting her gleaming voice to sublime heights, it possesses a spellbinding quality that’s difficult to dispel (even if you wanted to). Against the lone twinkle of a guitar, she weaves her luminous words into a mesmerizing outro that only entices you all the more into another playthrough.
See Estevie at El Cid in Los Angeles on October 3rd.
Words: Steven Ward
Listen to Cumbialicious the new EP from Estevie below!