Belén Mackinlay spent her early years in Ayacuchoon the Argentine countryside where she grew up in close contact with nature. Her grandparents´ house, full of family stories, seeded her love for tradition and for those who precededus. Belen recalls those years as a moment of absolute happiness: outdoor picnics, family games, shows staged for her parents and grandparents, first friends, and the discovery of the sounds of the field. Her family decides to move to Buenos Aires when she reaches school age. Belen’s music combines the rumor of her life in the countryside with the stridency of her passage through the city.
It is her mother’s family who shows her the path of music. The stories of Mendoza and evening gatherings are her earliest memories tied to folklore. Early on she joins her mother and uncle singing zambas she learned from her grandmother. Those songs still remid her of those guitar gatherings.
Belén was trained in music since early childhood, alongside her academic studies. Shefollowed a college career while starting to work in musical theatre. On her first attempt on a professional stage she got the leading role in a musical, and it is then that she decided to devote one hundred percent of her time to her true passion, singing. After a several years standing out in different productions on Corrientes Ave. (Buenos Aires’ Broadway scene), the year 2009 marked the beginning of a new twist in her career.
Belén has been specializing on Argentina’s folk music since 2009. She has released two albums — Trébol blanco and Huella—, which have earned her the praise of specialized critics. A vocalist that has explored several genres, Belén now devotes herself exclusively to Argentine folk, and sings with the accompaniment of three musicians.
Belén’s repertoire is characterized by a personal and modern perspective that endows Argentine folk with an innovative edge. The leader of a band of renowned jazz and folk musicians, Belén received a nomination for Trébol Blanco as Best Album by a New Folk Artist at the 2013 edition of the Gardel Awards. This album goes back to her roots, and is a synthesis of her life as an artist. With performances including the Cosquín Folk Music Festival —the most prestigious of its kind in Argentina—, she was selected by the Government of the City of Buenos Aires as part of the schedule of performances of the “Bares Notables” (a cluster of bars and cafes rated as city heritage). Belén is a passionate explorer of the language of her country’s folk music, and her voice brings out the emotion of this genre’s melodies and words.
Belen is currently working and living in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
In 2015, on account of her efforts in disseminating Argentina’s folk music, Belén was designated Roving Ambassador for Culture by the Municipality of her birth town Ayacucho, a city in the Province of Buenos Aires.
In 2017 she toured for the first time in the USA, performing at the Argentine Embassy in Washington, General consulate of Argentina in New York, General consulate of Argentina in Chicago, and the Old Town School of folk Music in Chicago.
In 2018 she toured internationally for the second time, this time in Europe (England and France) featuring a tribute to Argentine legend, Mercedes Sosa . She also teached workshops and masterclasses alongside with percussionist Carlos Rivero to children and adult musicians in Le Puy en Velay (France). This tour was declared of cultural interest by Argentina´s Cultural Ministry.