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Karito has been characterized for having a unique style in each of her presentations, breaking out of the mold of traditional vallenato artists. Photo: Courtesy.
Karito has been characterized for having a unique style in all of her performances, breaking out of the mold of traditional vallenato artists. Courtesy photo.

Karito Hernández, the vallenato rockstar

Karito Hernández is the new revelation of female vallenato in Cartagena.

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Vallenato is one of the flagship genres of the Colombian Caribbean that has historically been dominated by men. But increasingly, women are making their way into the important musical group, as is the case of Karito Hernandez. 

Karito is one of the revelations of female vallenato in Cartagena. She is a professional of the Performing Arts program at the institution Bellas Artes y Ciencias de Bolívar. She does not come from a family of musicians, but her father always took her down the path of music and art, instilling in her a love for Colombian folklore.

She grew up listening to Shakira, Enrique Iglesias and Carlos Vives. She learned to sing by imitating the voices she heard on records and at the age of eight, she joined her school choir to lose her shyness on stage. 

"My love for vallenato began when in college I was invited to be a vallenato chorister, and I ended up singing in front of all my classmates the only song I knew by the 'Binomio de Oro,'" the artist told AL DÍA News. Although she began singing other genres, such as ballads, pop and tropipop, she is currently dedicated only to vallenato. 

Although Karito states that her voice is sweet, unlike other artists who tend to have louder and huskier vallenato voices, it has become her trademark.

"That's part of the reason why I didn't like the genre, I felt I didn't fit in," she said. 

When she realized that vallenato allowed her to expand her talent outside the city, she decided to "put the chip," as they say on the coast, of putting effort into something. 

"Besides, vallenato is a genre with a lot of history, a lot of folklore and international recognition," said Karito about some of the reasons she dedicated herself only to the musical style. 

Currently, the artist from Cartagena has focused on creating musical fusions of vallenato with other urban rhythms typical of her country. She recently released a version of "PROVENZA" by Colombian artist Karol G, but with accordion rhythm. 

"Doing vallenato being a woman is very hard," she recounted while recalling an experience that made her realize that to walk her path she was going to have to work a little harder than her male counterparts. "Two years ago I had an experience where I was denied a presentation for being a woman, however, my managers made a deal where first a man sang and then me."

She began by singing a song by the late vallenato artist Patricia Teheran and all the women began to chant the lyrics with emotion. 

This experience made her get closer to vallenato, understanding that women also feel identified with a rhythm made by men, which needs more female representation. 

Besides her sweet voice, Karito has a magic that connects with the public. She likes to get off the stage, get out of the routine, interact and dance with the people in the place. This makes people turn to look at her and has made her a star in the region. 

Thanks to the fusions that she has brought to the rhythm of the accordion, the Cartagena native has also been able to perform in other countries such as Spain, where traditional vallenato is not so well known.

Karito already has her first single "Pa' darle mi amor," and now she is focused on re-recording more of her songs focused on vallenato because she had done them in another musical genres that no longer go with her essence. 

To all the girls and young women who want to dedicate themselves to music, this Cartagenera invites them to "always believe in themselves, despite the adversities, which will be many."

Karito also invites them all to believe in what makes them different, because that is what also makes them special, and not to be afraid of people who say otherwise, because there will always be detractors, but "sooner or later the sun always shines for all." 

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