On Our Radar: A Salsa from Philly, a Corrido Urbano from Mexico, a protest song from Colombia, and more

By 25 November, 2019

There’s a lot of new music in our radar, and the tracks range from celebratory salsa for the holidays to a gaita-filled protest track from an old friend in Colombia. Check it out:

Philly: Salsa Lab, ‘Parranda en Uber’

Puerto Rican composer, musician, and producer, Alba Martinez, is the brainchild behind “Parranda en Uber,” the debut single from Salsa Lab, a Latin music group she founded in Philadelphia earlier this year.

Martinez describes the upbeat salsa track as “a modernized ‘parranda’ song inspired by the significant social and economic changes happening in Puerto Rico—specifically how Puerto Ricans move, travel and work.

So why the uber (pun intended) contemporary theme, as shown in the following lyrics? Well, it’s almost 2020, and, as we all know, there’s no need to stay home (or drive drunk) when there are plenty of car share apps to get you to your parranda. As singer Miguel Orlando sings in the catchy song:

El carro se me dañó, pero a mí no me molesta (My car broke down but it doesn’t bother me)

porque yo llamo a Uber, pa’ llegar a la fiesta. (because I’ll call Uber to get to the party.)

En éstas Navidades viajaré como un rico (This Christmas I’ll travel like a rich man)

porque tengo un chofer que me lleva a todos sitios. (Because I have a driver that takes me everywhere)

No me preocupa el parking ni me importa el tapón (I don’t care about parking or traffic jams)

en Uber voy con aire, con Netflix y HBO. (In Uber I go with air conditioning, Netflix and HBO.)

Mexico: Natanael Cano, ‘El Drip’

Hat tip to writer Isabela Raygoza over at Remezcla for turning us onto this wave for we learned there is such a thing as a corrido urbano and an 18-year-old is responsible for putting it on our radar.

Natanael Cano, as Raygoza wrote in her latest, is the frontrunner of a new wave of urbano regional Mexican music players that are reinventing the corrido – a cinematic kind of folk ballad that gained popularity along the U.S.-Mexico border during the Mexican Revolution – for the Millennial and Zoomer generations. 

“Freshly off releasing his second full-length Corridos Tumbados, and a month after disrupting the urbano and regional Mexican landscape with the quintessential trap corrido hybrid “Soy el Diablo (Remix)” alongside Bad Bunny, Natanael Cano returns with a vengeance on Mi Verdad: Corridos Tumbados EP.” Read Raygoza’s full piece here, and catch Cano’s “El Drip” below.

Brooklyn: Strings N Skins, ‘Star Power’

The Brooklyn-based Strings N Skins, who describe themselves as “Colombia meets Haiti in Brooklyn,” have a beautiful new video for their track, “Star Power.”

The beautifully costumed video is directed by Lukas Pruchnik with artistic direction by the band’s Colombian lead singer, Luisa Bastidas. Choreography is by Richard James.

Puerto Rico: Alegría Rampante, ‘Jirafa’

This is a long song. But it’s worth every second as it will take you back to the glory days of Latin pop.

Alegría Rampante is one of the most influential bands in the independent rock and pop scene in Puerto Rico. Their new track “Jirafa” is a duet featuring the unique voice of Fofé Abreu, leader of many distinguished Puerto Rican rock groups such as CIRCO, Fofé and Los Fetiches and El Manjar de los Dioses.  

Composer and singer Eduardo Alegria tells us, “… we wanted to make a statement about the strength of the country’s independent music and the solidarity that characterizes its community of artists. Fofé, in addition to being a great friend, is an icon and high priest of Puerto Rican rock. We have been interpreting the song together on stage for years and we are excited to finally share a recorded version of ‘Jirafa.’”

The new music video for the track is directed by Oswaldo Colón Ortiz and produced in part thanks to the Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico. The video was filmed in the Punta Guaniquilla Reserve in the municipality of Cabo Rojo, managed by Para La Naturaleza and shows Eduardo Alegría and Fofé Abreu engaged in a playful ritual.

Those in La Isla del Encanto can catch Alegría Rampante in person on Friday, the 29th of November, at El Bastión cultural center in Old San Juan. 

Colombia: Pernett, ‘Al Pueblo’

Colombia is in the midst of some protest action by opponents of President Iván Duque and his government. The mostly peaceful protests took place on the 21st of November.

The workers’ centrals and trade union movements that called the protest called it a “national strike” (paro nacional) and protests were registered in Bogotá and other major cities such as Medellín, Cali and Barranquilla.

This spurred many Colombian artists into action on the streets, as well as the studio, such our old friend, Humberto Pernett, who released a track, “El Pueblo.”

“Today in support of the #paronacional #descargagratuita, this is called ‘Al Pueblo,’ and it’s what I have been singing these days through the streets of Bogotá with my gaita (Colombian windpipe). She is crying because indolent people do not respect life!

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