Alejandrina la Salsera

Photo credit: El Universo
Photo credit: El Universo

From the 2011 El Universo article, “Alejandrina Hernández, una voz que te alucina en Hachís Bar” (Alejandrina Hernandez, a Voice that Amazes at Hachis Bar):

I swear it. If you listen to Alejandrina Hernandez sing and watch her on stage, you will be amazed. She seduces you with her voice of flowers and thorns. It happened in Montañita, a bar of high waves, wind, and magic.

That night I greeted my friends at the iconic Hachis Bar without one drop of liquor in my blood. In that bar is where the Hachis All Stars, the resident band, began to sing “El cuarto de Tula” and a black singer, after warming up with a shot of tequila, sang that Cuban anthem with passion before changing to a blues song of anguish.

In that vein a night of blues, salsa, and bolero wore on. The people at Hachis Bar were amazed not only by her voice, but also by the expressive power of her stage presence. For that authenticity you get your fill of happiness and nostalgia, caresses and broken hearts.

The next afternoon I spoke with Alejandrina, who was born in Esmeraldas, prefers not to disclose when. His parents were from Tumaco, an Afro-Colombian city.

“My life was never easy,” she admits. “It was really difficult to get into music because as a child I had to work. Work or sing.” She remembers when she was very young, at 6 p.m. every night it was magic listening to distant boleros from the jukeboxes in the bars of her Esmeraldas neighborhood. In Guayaquil at age 13, she dared to sing on Radio Cristal in an amateur competition. She sang Desden and won second prize.

Living in Cali at 18, she sang ballads on some radio stations. But it was never easy to survive as an artist, so she studied cosmetology.

Her life has been coming and going between Ecuador and Colombia. In 1987, after living with her daughters far from music on the islands of San Andres, Colombia, she decided to move to Bogota to present her blues which she only sang to her daughters. She worked at a hair salon and frequented a bar in the Zona Rosa until 1992, when the reggae band Mango invited her to sing.

There she met keyboardist Carlos Vives, who also had his band, Distrito Especial. He invited her to sing in his show. “That night I was nervous. The bar almost did not let me enter because they thought I was begging,” she says. “The show started. I said I sang reggae music and started with a ballad from Donna Summer. I let loose. I don’t know where the inspiration came from, but the people were enchanted. ”

That night opened new doors for her. She acted in a musical at the TTB theater in Bogota. He sang ballads on the soap opera, En Cuerpo Ajeno, which starred Amparo Grisales.

She started singing at various venues and even had her own bar, Subterraneo, and band of reggae, Cuban, and Colombian music. After singing in El Zaguan del Viejo Conde with Gerardo de Francisco and his wife Margarita FranciscoLa Gaviota from the soap opera, Cafe, con aroma de mujer – she was invited to work on the group’s CD that was being recorded. Everything was fine but that project was discontinued suddenly, along with Alejandrina’s will to continue.

“One day in 1996 I felt very sad and said, I do not want to keep singing.” Then she became a craftswoman and began to travel Colombia. She settled on the island of Jambelí, El Oro, where she lived until recently at the La Casa de la Luna hostel. Now, she is again on tour singing because she wants to record a CD and also write songs for other performers. For six months she has been in Montañita singing her covers, and also the blues which are a portrait of her life.

“I have a strong story to tell that puts any soap or film to shame, for the experiences that I have overcome to succeed. But I never let the pain, sadness, abandonment, anger, or others’ hatred or aggression stop me. I always said, ‘One day will be my day’. And when I was sad, I sang. Music is a therapy that cleanses my soul. My life is music,” says Alejandrina with a smile that highlights the wrinkles on her dark face.

Every weekend Alejandrina Hernandez enchants people at Hachis Bar. Especially when singing her Walkin’ blues: “Errante vagabunda por el mundo voy/ Sin puerto que me ate/ Siempre libre soy/ Peregrinando por la vida/ Dejé de lado los dolores/ Y he guardado los placeres en un rincón del corazón/Llevo la música en el alma/ Y un buen blues para cantar/ Y también llevo marihuana por si me tocara llorar/ Oh sí, alegre por la tierra voy/ Oh sí, cantando alegre estoy/ El camino que ha quedado atrás/ No lo puedo encontrar jamás/ El camino que quedó de lado/ Hoy no lo puedo recuperar.”

I swear Alejandrina Hernandez’s voice enchants you. If you do not believe me, go to Montañita and, once you are hypnotized, drink a beer in my name.

En Cuerpo Ajeno theme song

“Gaviota”, theme song from Cafe, con aroma de mujer

Alejandrina singing in Montañita, Ecuador

See more of Alejandrina singing in Montañita.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *