In the expressway, you’ll find me lopin’, where the spaces are wide open, in the land of the Delhi-NCR”. These lines are by Almudena Longares— her stage name is Ena Marley— and they are her musical response to Delhi. Marley is a pianist, singer-songwriter, and composer born in Madrid, Spain. Since 2018, she has been performing jazz in Delhi and Mumbai.
Marley came to India in 2017 as part of an internship after studying classical piano at the Royal Conservatory of Spain. She decided to embark on a musical career as a songwriter-composer while continuing her studies in Masters, in the Valencia campus (Spain) of the USA University Berklee College of Music.
Currently, she is working at the Global Music Institute, part of the Berklee College of Music, in Greater Noida. She next performs at the Embassy of Italy on October 27; every Sunday, she performs at the Home Delhi restaurant. Marley’s music is a mix of classical music, jazz, storytelling, and musical theatre. “My instinct has been to build harmony and to create stories with music,” she says.
Her latest song, ‘The Wild West Delhi, is Where I Want to Be’ narrates the different sides of Delhi and it concludes with how it is still the place where she wants to be. The Delhi scenery, its radioactive air, spicy food— all these find their way into the song and give it a different layering. In the last few months of her Master’s degree, Marley’s search has been to find different independent and likeminded artists from the world of cinema.
She has worked as an assistant director and music assistant for the movie, Kadakh (2019), starring Rajat Kapoor. Marley was introduced to music at an early age. “I realised that I was drawn to music when I was around five years old. We had a piano at home and I started playing it,” she says. Her album, Magic Jazz Masalas, is a mix of swing and gypsy jazz and draws on contemporary themes.
The song, ‘I Should Switch Off the Phone’ talks about social media overuse; ‘Hap Hap Happy Hap’ is about the feeling of loneliness, and ‘Platitos’ is a song about love. The lineup includes songs that focus on India including the ‘A Foggy Day in Delhi Town’, a romantic song about Delhi’s winter. Recently, she shared the record’s first single, a swingblues song, ‘Where Is the Money?’ The song was based on her real-life experiences and is a humorous take about jobs in India that don’t pay.
“Sometimes I have taken up gigs knowing that the payments will be delayed. You feel insecure, tired, and somehow abused,” she adds. She is next working on an album titled The Uncontrolled Journey of the Post Art Ensemble which is an international music project that brings together five artists from different backgrounds who come together to explore neo-folk music under the direction of composer Jelena Soro.
Marley also talks of the challenges of creating a music video and releasing a song for independent artists. “The amount of work involved is overwhelming but the personal satisfaction you get out of it is the biggest compensation, but you do need to somehow find a balance.” For over 10 years, Marley has also been working for different bands, shows, and productions including T-series, Mithya Talkies, TVf, and Svf Music.
She has also launched a web page for music transcriptions and arrangements called intosheetmusic. com which aims to provide music scores to contemporary projects, recordings, or intellectual property files. She has also composed the music for The Doll’s House for the National School of Drama in New Delhi. Her advice to the youth interested in being an artist is “to be patient, to believe in their sound and perspectives, and to understand the language of music.” What makes one a good musician? “To be a musician is to be an artist, create a whole world out of your imagination