Anywhere, anytime: reggaeton
MANUEL GUERRA PÉREZ | La Habana | 26 de Abril de 2017 – 14:03 CEST.
“You’re crazy, sick, reckless,” goes the chorus of one of the tunes by
the singer El Chacal, along with the group Los Cuatro, among the most
popular on the Island.
Reggaeton is one of the musical genres most listened to by Cubans.
Despite the authorities’ insistent criticism of its lyrics, and attempts
to limit the public forums where it can be played, and its omission from
(State) media, this music is still ubiquitous, heard by both those who
enjoy it and for its critics; in taxis, buses, cafes, restaurants,
schools…almost where there is a device that can play it, you can hear
Those who do not appreciate this “invasion” find the genre offensive and
point out its that lyrics are pointless and degrading to women.
Its musicians, meanwhile, have engaged in clashes, attacking and
insulting each other. More than a few admit that they resort to explicit
lyrics that can often be audacious.
“My lyrics are romantic and mellow, a fusion with reggaeton, but I
always have to write a more provocative song or two to reach out to
audiences. It shouldn’t be that way, but it’s what most people want to
hear. I’m against music that’s offensive to women,” says the singer El
“To reach audiences reggaeton singers have to use bawdy lyrics, for it
to be heard on heard on the street. It’s what young people like. As the
years have passed, it’s clear that it’s what people want to hear,” says
William Sánchez, a singer, song writer and one of the earliest musicians
in this genre in Cuba.
“It’s a bit sad what we see today: primary school kids who can sing a
whole reggaeton song, but probably don’t know the National Anthem, or
the multiplication table,” says one teacher.
Despite the public’s acceptance of this music, “we have never been able
to perform a concert with multiple reggaeton groups,” complains singer
Meyse d Perce. “The Culture Ministry doesn’t let us. In fact, in most
cases we have to say we’re a salsa group, or some other musical genre,
to be able to perform in public places,” he adds.
However, “it’s a different story with big names who fill venues, for
whom doors are open at places that attract tourists, or where tickets
are more expensive,” he says.
The genre and its fan base continues to grow, although many of the
performers and song writers have no musical education. Some make a lot
of money turning their homes into recording studios.
Facing a lack of official promotion, reggaeton reaches fans through the
well-known Paquete, flash drives and shows at discos.
Venues featuring reggaeton performers charge prices ranging from 5 all
the way up to 50 CUC.
Its popularity is surprising, and belies propaganda claiming that Cubans
boast a high cultural level.
“Some reggaeton artists use very lewd lyrics, but this is just a
response to circumstances, as those who have performed in the United
States and other places around the world have changed their songs and
adapted their messages for different audiences,” says the singer Leo Ortiz.
With many performers of this music having settled in the US, many young
people have followed their dreams of taking the reggateon path.
Source: Anywhere, anytime: reggaeton | Diario de Cuba –