The first original release from a Bay Area native with a soulful, stripped down sound, Xiomara’s album Seven Nineteen is an enjoyable and emotive listen. Xiomara has been making music since she was a child, and it shows.
That is something that I’ve said for a really long time…you can’t appreciate the clean, if you ain’t lived in the mud. It’s like a yin and yang thing: There is always a drop of white in the black, and always a drop of black in the white. If you know one without the other, that one will seem strange. I’m basically alluding to the balance [between them], while also trying to encourage people to go through the mud: Live in it, be in it, be where they are. Soak in it and remember, so that when you’re in a clean space, it’s clear.
Xiomara’s voice is versatile. She can be low and lilting, slow and jazzy, bright and happy, or stern and commanding. She is sometimes reminiscent of Chaka Khan with her smooth attitude, other times she evokes Ella Fitzgerald’s playfulness, but mostly she sounds like her own unique self. Her voice has impressive range: she can get low, and then suddenly soaring, toss verses up into the stratosphere and invite her listeners to come along.
Seven and nineteen is 26, I was 26 when I died, the policeman shot me down, didn’t even have time to fly/Seven and nineteen is 26, I was 26 when I died, the policeman shot me down, tell the people it’s time to ride.
The final song is the title track, a protest song that features drums at the beginning, and opera singers at the end. Like Xiomara, it is nuanced, and marked both by pain and hope.