Musician Vagabon invites her fans on a trip

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Laetitia Tamko is careful with her words and her music. So when she was asked to perform at the Storm King Art Center “A Summer Night” in upstate New York in June, she knew she would have to create something special, even magical, to share with their audience.

The Cameroonian-born, New York-raised musician wasn’t always so sure that music would be her path. The self-taught indie star got her start in music in her senior year of high school when her parents bought her first acoustic guitar at Costco, but put her passion on hold while she studied engineering at City College of New York. . However, she couldn’t suppress her natural urge to write and create songs for too long. His first album, Infinite Worlds, was born between exams and homework in 2017 under the monkier Vagabon. To Tamko’s initial surprise, he achieved national fame. After that, engineering took precedence over music.

At the end of 2019, Tamko released their second self-titled album, wanderer, written and produced almost entirely by her with a completely different sound and feel to her independent and paired debut. “I wanted to make a statement about what kind of artist I want to be and also show the different sides of me,” she says of the music, which she eventually started touring across the United States at. the end of last year. “So many artists have multiple things they can do. And I wanted to make that statement from the start. I’m going to make these records and the kind of fans I want are those who are willing to take this journey with me.

wanderer is more sonically complex and synthesized than Infinite Worlds. In it, Tamko uses more rhythms and incorporates sound waves and electronic signals that add to her voice and traditional instruments – she plays several including drums, guitar and keyboard. The combination of his already interesting and authentic vocals with overlapping synthesized sounds creates a modern, pop tone with a smooth songwriter vibe. As an engineer, she is curious about the evolution of music and the endless possibilities that come with production.

Wanderer.

Tamko sees her albums as snapshots in time, archival pieces of the exploration or mental capacity she was in at those times. Because life is anything but consistent, she knows her fellow man will adapt in style to everything she has learned since creation. wanderer. And as she embarks on the journey of being an artist, it’s important for her to change as she grows and learns. She intentionally doesn’t lock herself in, to any extent.

As a musician, Tamko chose the pseudonym Vagabon because of the sound and ease with which people could pronounce it – compared to her French birth name which Americans could never understand – and the sense of adventure. who accompanied him.

“Funny, in some cultures it means someone who’s all over the place and not put together – that’s not a good word!” she says of the word “vagabond”, which inspired her stage name. Despite the connotation, the definition seemed to fit. “Growing up, I always had this feeling of going to places, and I’m not talking about careers, I just mean physical places. I always wanted to go out and explore. What I knew for sure, I didn’t want my name to be mispronounced.

Surely, however, as Tamko prepares for her Storm King performance on June 25 in which she will star wanderer for a crowd-pleasing, pandemic-delayed experience after COVID-19-related tour cancellations in 2020, the name Vagabon will be said loud and clear by fans everywhere, including art-loving New Yorkers.

“The scenery is so beautiful, I’m really excited to perform there,” she says of the sculpture park site, which will be open after hours for the special event. “Especially at night, it’s like a national treasure. I really look forward, as a New Yorker, to playing among these sculptures in the landscape under the summer sky of the Hudson Valley.

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