Eljuri is always seeking out new sounds. They cross paths somewhere between the cultures she was raised in and the cities she has lived in, including New York City, Spain, Lebanon, and Ecuador. She invites you to sip from the cup of “Reflexión,” her remedy for the unimaginable isolation we have all recently experienced, which is steeped in her greatest passion of songwriting. Being a renowned multi-instrumentalist, she’s created hypnotic melodies that are both familiar and foreign at the same time. She empowers the Latinx community and fights for human rights with heavy guitar-driven grooves, rock, Latin, Middle Eastern, reggae, funk, and dance that are wrapped around tales of resiliency, shelter, our borders, and the environment. Being one of the best Latina guitarists in the world, she is celebrating the release of her fifth studio album, “Reflexión,” and will tour in support of it in the US, Mexico, and the Netherlands in 2022 and 2023 with her power trio. In the age of Covid, Eljuri’s stature, musicianship, and social engagement have enabled her to virtually forge new and profoundly relevant connections with new audiences, but there is no substitute for the thrill of performing in front of a live audience and connecting with them. Her memorable bilingual message of protest and universal truths, as expressed in her award-winning songs and videos, captivates audiences.
Four critically acclaimed solo albums by Eljuri have been released: “En Paz” (2008), “Fuerte” (2012), “La Lucha” (2016), and “Resiste” (2019). On PRI, NPR, Voice of America, NBC Latino, La Jornada, Revista Kuadro, Pacifica Radio, and the Women of Rock Documentary, in-depth interviews about her career have been featured. Her songs have placed in the Top Ten on Worldbeat and Latin radio in the US, Canada, and Mexico while winning awards from the Billboard Songwriting Contest, John Lennon International Songwriting Contest, and Independent Music Awards. She has been performing abroad for more than ten years. Eljuri is pleased to support brands such as Gibson Guitars, D’Angelico Guitars, Mono Cases, JH Audio Custom In-Ear Monitors, and guitar straps from Moody.
Reflexión’s focus track is Home, a rocker written entirely in English and intended as a tribute to NYC, as Eljuri has called New York City her home ever since her immigrant parents moved there from Ecuador with their infant Cecilia and her three older siblings. It’s an energetic love song that resonates with the frantic energy of the city. The iconic arrangement evokes the happiness we all experience when we are in our most authentic selves. Check out the song and the exclusive interview below:
1. Can you tell us a bit about where you come from and how it all got started?
ELJURI: Saludos! My musical journey started when I was about 5 years old when I gravitated to the piano. My mother Olga was a pianist and composer and I admired her beautiful playing.
2. Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
ELJURI: I did have formal piano lessons for many years and then switched to drums for about a year until I found my voice and the guitar. I sang in the school choir and was self-taught on guitar. I used the music theory I learned from piano to improve on voice and guitar.
3. Who were your first and strongest musical influences and why the name ‘ELJURI’?
ELJURI: My first musical influence was definitely my mother! She was a wonderful role model as a musician, a composer and arranger of tangos, pasillos, boleros and waltzes. I’ve had many more strong influences since then like Bob Marley, Led Zeppelin – both Page and Plant, Bonnie Raitt, Celia Cruz . . .
My artistic name ‘Eljuri’ is short for my full name ‘Cecilia Villar Eljuri.’ In the Latino culture your full name includes both maternal and paternal names. My mother’s last name is Eljuri which is of Lebanese descent and my father’s last name is Villar which comes from Spain.
4. What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners, and how would you personally describe your sound?
ELJURI: My sound is a blend of my background as a Latina growing up in NYC. Key elements of my music include latin, reggae and world beat rhythms fused with elements of rock, funk and punk. I’m known for my songs that have socially conscious lyrics supported by powerful vocals and soaring guitar solos.
6. What’s your view on the role and function of music as political, cultural, spiritual, and/or social vehicles – and do you try and affront any of these themes in your work, or are you purely interested in music as an expression of technical artistry, personal narrative and entertainment?
I’ve ben called a rockstar humanitarian. My songs are socially charged and I use my voice as a singer, songwriter and guitarist to shed light on what I consider to be some of the most critical issues of our times. My latest album ‘Reflexión’ includes stories of resilience, shelter, our borders and climate change.
7. Do you feel that your music is giving you back just as much fulfilment as the amount of work you are putting into it, or are you expecting something more, or different in the future?
As a seasoned professional with over ten years of international touring experience, I feel fulfilled by making music. My new record is my 5th studio album. I am always looking forward to connecting with more people.
8. Could you describe your creative processes? How do usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a tune, a beat, or a narrative in your head? And do you collaborate with others in this process?
My songwriting ideas start in many different ways – a lyric, melody line, guitar chords, bass line or groove. Once the seed of an idea connects with me, I create the full song. I work solo in my home studio when songwriting and fully flesh out my own arrangements.
9. What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life or music career so far and what would you consider a successful, proud or significant point in your life or music career so far?
ELJURI: As with most difficult and challenging decisions, one of the hardest changes was when I decided to go solo after working in bands for many years. While this was a difficult decision it turned out to be one of the best and most impactful decisions I made and was an extremely positive turning point in my career. I am so proud of my 4 previously released solo albums, ‘En Paz’, ‘Fuerte’, ‘La Lucha’ and ‘Resiste’ and am thrilled to release my 5th solo album ‘Reflexión’ on September 30, 2022.
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