According to a recent Pitchfork article, VAGABON (Lætitia Tamko) is an “indie rock game changer.” The Cameroon-native is not only writing songs that empower a generation of young black women, she is giving a voice to anyone that feels like an outsider to the oftentimes exclusive DIY music scene. Following a few bandcamp releases, VAGABON has released her first official LP, “Infinite Worlds.”
To say that Inifinite Worlds is good would be an understatement. The writing, while simple and concise, encapsulates the experience of marginalized people of all backgrounds. On the opening track, “Embers,” Tamko writes about her sense of being small and her inability to get her foot on the ground. “I feel so small/ my feet can barely touch the floor/ on the bus where everybody is tall.”
The lyrics hint at social inequity and the fight for an even playing field. It is also a line that touches on Tamko’s physicality and entrance into the Brooklyn DIY music scene. However, by the end of the song, Tamko takes the idea and runs with it, turning small fish into an outcry of identity and strength. VAGABON may be a small fish, but she’s got a big bite.
Between songs at the Ottobar on March 2nd, Lætitia’s resounding vocals decrescendo to deliver a meek “thank you.” The difference between her timid nature and her explosive performance came as a shock. There seems to be a clear distinction between Tamko and VAGABON that allows for her to reach past her comfort zone and connect with the audience.
Her opening slot for the Allison Crutchfield tour is her first set of shows since the release of the new album, and there has been quite a lot of buzz going around. This includes an 8.5 rating and inclusion within “Best New Music” on Pitchfork – a phrase that was at one point shouted out from the audience in Baltimore.
The pressure is high, but you can “run and tell everybody” that VAGABON is here and ready to rise to the occasion.