Singer Alejandra Ribera will take the stage 8:40 tonight at the Wreckhouse Jazz and Blues Festival at Rocket Bakery in St. John’s.
The Toronto woman with Scottish and Argentinean roots is a rising star whose voice has been compared to the likes of Edith Piaf, Bjork, and Tom Waits.
Ribera will play songs from her debut album, “Navigator Navigate Her,” as well as from her new album which is set for release next January.
With songs she describes as “pop that goes on a lot of tangents,” Ribera says she looks forward to performing in a smaller venue, though she admits it can sometimes be nerve-wracking.
“There’s no separation between you and the audience,” she says. “It takes you back to this place of how the whole business of singing songs to people started. There’s something so primal about singing in small spaces, even if you are onstage.”
As one of few women on the Wreckhouse lineup this year, Ribera says it’s not so much a reflection of the music scene as it is an opportunity for self-exploration.
“Sometimes it’s a cool thing to be a bit of a fish out of water, even in your gender and in your genre of music,” Ribera says.
“It’s a bit like travelling alone. Being the odd one out forces you to look at yourself more.”
Looking inward is something that Ribera has reminded herself of by getting a tattoo on her right wrist which reads, “Eschuchame,” which translates from Spanish as “listen to me.”
The singer says that sometimes she must take a breath and trust her instincts — a technique she brings to her own music.
“When I write, it’s like the songs don’t really belong to me. The whole point is, they don’t come from you. They come through you,” Ribera says. “I don’t make an effort to steer or control the writing.”
Jazz is a genre Ribera says will be around for a long time, and with festivals like Wreckhouse, it could never die out.
“It’s always relevant because it’s kind of rebellious in its nature. It’s play from your heart and don’t rely on notes on the page,” Ribera says.
“And for that reason, I think it’s always going to touch us.”
Tickets for individual festival shows are available at the LSPU hall box office, by calling 753-4531, or online at rca.nf.ca.
A festival pass is $75 (plus tax and surcharge) and will give holders access to all 24 acts at the five festival venues.
A full festival schedule is available online at wreckhousejazzandblues.com