Afro-Dominican high priestess Carolina Camacho first stunned me with her electro-palo throwdown “Los Tambores” in 2015. That track showed off her knack for recontextualizing Dominican folkloric styles without caricaturing tradition or relying on it as a mere gimmick. Instead, Camacho infuses styles like gagá, bambulá, and palo with the energy of 2016’s diverse electronic landscape.
Now Camacho is returning in full force with the lead single from her debut album. Fittingly, Camacho sounds ready to pounce on “Leona,” an ode to the divine feminine energy of Caribbean women. Over a meandering, unapologetically funky bassline, Camacho’s operatic vocals almost summon us to bow down. Mid-way through the song, an EDM beat builds over a slithering güira and conga drums, and Camacho’s hook hits in hyperspeed. “Vamo’ a ver si tu tiene power,” indeed.
Carolina Camacho’s debut album drops on November 18.