Accordion-wielding Pascuala Ilabaca is a true hidden gem: a favorite among today’s young Chilean singer-songwriters, whose music is rooted in traditional sounds but effortlessly integrates shades of jazz, pop, rock, and influences gathered in such distant places as India and Mexico. Accompanied by her formidable five-piece band Fauna (guitars, saxophone, clarinet and percussion), she possesses an electrifying stage presence that conjures up sweetness and empowerment at the same time and an incredible voice that simultaneously evinces melancholy and happiness.

Pascuala calls herself ‘a nomadic person’. “All my inspiration comes from travel. I want to connect cultures, people and music,” she says. While she has traveled to India to learn traditional singing and tries to bring together Himalayan and Andean dances, she is mostly influenced by the music and poetry of female singers from Latin American. In particular, she draws inspiration from two principal, if overshadowed, chilenas in history: Nobel Prize-winning poet Gabriela Mistral and Violeta Parra, the godmother of Latin American protest music.

Pascuala Ilabaca’s third album, Rey Loj, received the Pulsar, Chile’s most prestigious music award. Her latest release, El Mito de la Pérgola, is her favorite because it focuses on music borne out of social settings and holds the promise for a better tomorrow. “If we all join—artists and community—in the center of a public square, we’re going to change the world,” exhorts the Chilean songstress. “This is the meaning of the album.”