Reggaeton: He who is free from sin throws the first song
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- Arts and Culture
- 08 / 28 / 2007
Felix Guerrero, an extraordinary deceased musician who studied with Nadia Boulanger, was friend and collaborator of Ernesto Lecuona and Professor of Chico O'Farrill, told to this reporter: "music, including classic music, is born from the people, what is Rigoletto but a mixture of bullrings, Mexican ballads, and tarantellas?
I clarify this because there are people who persists in our forerunners sin: to attack everything that is new although its reggaeton.
In the past, genres that were born in brothels, slums or bad-rep houses like jazz, the son, and the tango were also targeted by attacks of the prejudiced critics disguised of morale, good habits or high intellectuality.
Alejo Carpentier, in El recurso del método (The Resource of the Method), put in a dictator's mouth a reflection on the operas Tosca, Carmen, and La Traviata: "since we are speaking of prostitutes, bring me one", he asserted.
Our popular music, says Juan Marinello as the best in the entire staff of the island, was always fed partly, of a hidden meaning or the direct allusion to "forbidden" topics and to give examples lets mention the "Suavecito", of Ignacio Piñeiro, Dile a Catalina que te compre un guayo (have Catalina buy you a guayo) and Eso que me hiciste mami me gusto (I liked what you did to me baby), of Arsenio Rodriguez, Quimbombo que resbala (Sliding okra).
Even in mid 60s, when Juanito Marquez emulated with his rhythm Pacá with the Mozambique of Pello El Afrokán, the recording in Radio Progreso of his emblematic song Ay arrímate paca Nené (Come closer Nené), it was a true scandal.
An eyewitness told this reporter that the original lyrics of that song Marquez wrote it as follows: "Dont put your hand on my shoulder, dont look at me that way, what you have to do baby, is to put me... la la la la la la la la la."
Then, what is wrong with reggaeton?
According to Willy Colón, the peak of this genre is closely related with the crisis of salsa music an opinion he shares with Danny Rivera. "Salsa music has lost the street and that has sunk it into a crisis", added the famous director and trombonist.
Its true that reggaeton singers sometimes carry things to the extreme, but I see in that provocative, defiant and irreverent attitude, a summoning to a sector relinquished of society which are the so-called marginal, in a time in which the Brazilian landless, the Argentinean picketers, the Zapatista in Mexico, Maras in Central America, and the members of the poverty bags in Paris or New York.
In a world full of western models third world members should not blush with the publicity of our most ordinary signs. It must not be forgotten that the successful western archetypes like the cowboy and the samurai, were nothing but rural just like the Argentinean, the mariachi or the cangaceiro.
The Marlon Brando in The Wild One and The Fugitive Kind resembles Daddy Yankee and Don Omar dearly: low-class man, provocative and fragile, solitary and talkative.
As an example of the "new times" in the reggaeton, theres the song My FBI Friend of Calle 13, choleric allegation against the murder of the pro-independence leader from Puerto Rico Filiberto Ojeda Ríos, or the song Frijolero of Molotov, antiracist and tolerant.
Such merits don't excuse the movement from the banality and easy-way they follow. If reggaeton singers want to go beyond their time, they will have to find a way that struggles against the very limits of the genre and its singers.
He who is free from sin throw the first song.
Source: By Jorge Smith, CubaSi