Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sin Mapa

I went to Calle 13's Sin Mapa premier presented by the New York Latino International Film Festival yesterday. Residente and Visitante made a surprise appearance to pose with fans and introduce the film and their intentions behind it. The film was really interesting and I highly recommend it for anyone interested in the group, in reggaeton, or even in the effects of globalization in Latin America.

I liked Residentes' explanation behind the film, "As Puerto Ricans we are always looking to the North, to the States [in order to understand our culture]. We need to start looking to the South."

It is by no means a perfect film, and I do have some issues with it, but its still worth checking out.

It is available on iTunes and DVD for everyone who couldn't catch it in theaters.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

Puerto Rican Hipsterism pt. 3: Jowell's "Reggaeton Mullet"

Last week Solo Para Reggaeton blogged that "Jowell Invents Reggaeton Mullet." I was intrigued, and then once I saw the photo stoked! More Puerto Rican Hipsterism!

Talento de Victoria says:
Not much to say about this one, just check out that picture! Obviously it's pretty awesome. Reggaeton has a way of doing that to things that would otherwise suck. He looks like a Japanese international student or a Puerto Rican version of Kenny Powers. I like it.
I like it too. I liked it even more when I found out that Jowell donated his hair to make wigs for children who lost their hair when they underwent chemotherapy. Jowell talked about his new do' with Primera Hora, check it out:

Friday, July 17, 2009

This Nonsense Again?: Controversy Over "Sexy Robotica"

Telemundo posted about Don Omar's new video for "Sexy Robotica" and asked: "¿Canción y video ofensivo?"

From the post:
La nueva canción de Don Omar "Sexy Robótica" está en el medio de la controversia tanto por su letra como por su video musical. En el video se ven dos chicas besándose usando lengua y en la letra de la canción Don hace referencia a drogas como extasis, cocaína entre otras. Muchos críticos dicen que la canción insita a los jovenes a la promiscuidad. Tu tienes la última palabra. Opina.

[Don Omar's new song "Sexy Robotica" is in the middle of a controversy over its lyrics and music video. In the video you see two women tongue kissing and in the lyrics Don refers to drugs such as Ecstasy and cocaine among others. Many critics say that this song incites youth to promiscuity. You have the last word. Opinions.]


Yes, I think I'm going to go have massive amounts of anonymous sex while coked up and I owe it all to Don Omar.


This line of thinking is really insulting. If what they're really mad about is the depiction of two women kissing and the other "sexy robotic" moments that take place in the video than they should admit it instead of fronting like they give a shit about the well being of "the youth". This is about policing what the overall population sees, not just "youth," but youthful innocence provides a sympathetic rallying cry for such censorship.

Anyway, check out the full comments at Telemundo ... they tend to fall on familiar terrain (Fuck reggaeton, it's evil vs. Fuck you, you don't understand), but its still worth checking out.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

Reggaeton's Inclusion in Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Last week Merriam-Webster added "reggaeton" as an entry. Peep the definition:
\ˌre-gā-ˈtōn, ˌrā-\
American Spanish reggaetón, from reggae reggae + -ton (as in Spanish maratón marathon)

: popular music of Puerto Rican origin that combines rap with Caribbean rhythms

Raquel Rivera on reggaeton's inclusion in Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
The first thing that struck me about the news is that "reggaeton" made it into this English-language dictionary before it made it into the Diccionario de La Real Academia Española. Neither "reggaetón" nor "reguetón" has made it into the RAE dictionary yet. Hhhmmmm...
Read the whole post at Reggaetonica.

Estilo Blanco of Solo Para Reggaeton on reggaeton's inclusion in Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
And you see that definition? It's wrong! While I would love to see a dictionary that defines everything in relation to Puerto Rico, this definition completely ignores Reggaeton hotspots like Panama, The Dominican Republic, and oh, I don't know, the freaking BRONX.
Read the whole post at Solo Para Reggaeton.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Calle 13, Bomba Estereo, & Eric Bobo @ Summerstage

The Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC) as always brought together some of the best alternative bands for a week of madness. I went to the closing event yesterday at Central Park Summerstage with Eric Bobo (of Cypress Hill) Bomba Estereo, and Calle 13. Here are some clips from the event. I'm already looking forward to next year!

Eric Bobo in addition to being part of Cypress Hill is the son of the legendary musician Willie Bobo. Here he is performing one of his father's best known songs"Fried Neck Bones."

Eric Bobo performing an interpretation of Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Starting Something"

Bomba Estereo performing "Cosita Rica"

Bomba Estereo performing "La Nina Rica"

Calle 13 performing "La Fokin Moda"

Calle 13 performing "Se Vale To-To"

Calle 13 performing "Beso de Desayuno"

PG-13 of Calle 13 performing the intro to "Pal Norte"

Friday, July 10, 2009

Calle 13 Sin Mapa

Calle 13's new documentary Sin Mapa will be premiering during the New York International Latino Film Festival 2009 on July 29th @ 6:30pm.

From the NYILFF website:
Calle 13’s innovative fusion of urban music with pan-regional sounds from across Latin America has garnered a Grammy, Five Latin Grammy awards, and worldwide critical acclaim. In Sin Mapa, we join the socially outspoken duo on their journey “Without a Map” across South America for an exploration of indigenous music and culture.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Reggaeton Revolutionaries

Following up on the previous post, with a special tip of the fitted to Wayne Marshall...

Wayne left a comment on the previous post linking to another Reuters piece entitled "Cuba's Fidel Castro honored with a reggaeton song." Cubaton artist Baby Lores wrote a song about Castro after rumors circulated that the reggaetonero had defected during his last trip to Europe. In the video for the song, while taking "traitors" to task, he is seen getting a tattoo of "El Jefe" on his shoulder.

In the last post I mentioned that to me it seemed like a lot of the rhetoric about reggaeton's "neoliberal" properties had to do with how Cuban revolutionary authorities perceive reggaeton as a product produced by Puerto Rico's neocolonial relationship with the United States. Baby Lores makes that point extremely clear at one point towards the end of the song when he says (roughly translated) "Let me see how I explain, don't confuse Cuba with Puerto Rico, excuse me for saying it this way, but instead of two I prefer only one flag." I thought it was pretty interesting that Lores takes Puerto Ricans and Cuban exiles to task in nearly the same breath, for effectively being gusanos. I don't really know what to make of it yet, but there is something interesting happening here around ownership claims and authenticity -- distancing Puerto Rico (and simultaneously the U.S.) in order to make reggaeton acceptable for consumption within Cuba.

I'll leave you with a YouTube response by Frankoraz:

He says: "Sentí la necesidad de representar al pueblo cubano que vive dentro y fuera de la isla. Esta es la respuesta indignada al irracional tema de Baby Lores "Creo", dedicado a la Revolución Cubana." [I felt the need to represent Cubans who live in and outside of the island. This is an angry response to Baby Lores' irrational song "Creo"].

Monday, July 6, 2009

Neoliberalism and Reggaeton

Reuters recently published a pieced entitled "Reggaeton fever shakes up Cuba's culture" the article cites an now infamous (in reggaeton circles anyway) quote by Juventud Rebelde that calls reggaeton a "reflection of 'neoliberal thinking'."

I think the development and growth of reggaeton in Cuba has been fascinating (if you are interested check out Geoff Baker's work) and illuminates much about the ways in which different musical forms/genres circulate as cultural and ideological commodities.

The idea of reggaeton being a product of neoliberalism is intriguing. Clearly the flows of neoliberal capital and its circuits facilitated the spread of technologies and people that enabled the different permutations of reggaeton within the Caribbean, the Americas, and globally.

More than anything else, I wonder what seeing reggaeton as a neoliberal commidity says about how Cuban authorities think about the neocolonial relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico and the forces of diaspora (not only between Puerto Rico and the U.S., but broadly speaking) in forging reggaeton, essentially outside of the Cuban nation (and well any nation really). Reggaeton is largely positioned as outside of the Cuban nation, seen as an import from the yanquis via Puerto Rico, which is why Cuban Culture Minister Abel Prieto is quoted in the Reuters piece as saying that reggaeton needs to be "pushed away." Reggaeton is agringado, a corrupting influence on Cuba's revolutionary ideals.

While reggaeton is (often mis)understood as a Puerto Rican, or even an American phenomenon, the more authorities and cultural brokers attempt to place reggaeton within some kind of national frame the more obvious it becomes that reggaeton exist in between and outside of national boundaries.

Maybe that is what makes reggaeton so threatening, what incites all these national panics? Well, besides sex and race, but of course those things are tied up within the nation too...

Now I'm just ranting though....thoughts?