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Articles Gente de Zona, Yotuel, Descemer Bueno and El Funky at the Latin Grammy ceremony performing Patria y Vida. Photo: Kevin Winter / Getty Images for The Latin Recording Academy. Gente de Zona, Yotuel, Descemer Bueno and El Funky at the Latin Grammy ceremony performing Patria y Vida. Photo: Kevin Winter / Getty Images for The Latin Recording Academy.

Homeland, life and the Latin Grammy - Magazine AM: PM

I've said it several times, I don't like it Homeland and Life. It seems to me a bland, opportunistic song, which reaches its best moments precisely where the names that support it are pushed aside, when Maykel Osorbo and El Funky show that they have a talent that has been wasted for years, like that of so many rappers. who live in that sad limbo that is the national hip hop scene.

But I understand that the issues have a life of their own beyond themselves, and that within the chronology of the protests and claims that have shaken Cuba —a transnational Cuba, which extends to other geographies and virtual spaces— for nearly one year Homeland and Life It came at the right time to capture and condense the feeling of a revolutionary situation, and it became the anthem that the people needed.

I even remember perfectly the moment when I understood the political dimension of that song. It was in April, when in a direct Facebook post made by Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara from his home in San Isidro, you can see how police officers try to take Maykel away and the people of the neighborhood take him out of their hands and return him to his street. . There in the midst of that tension, they chanted Homeland and Life with a fervor that made me realize that this was definitely something else.

I mean, I understand the symbolic value of Homeland and Life, the capacity it has to condense the frustrations and yearnings of an important part of the Cuban people. Now, what puzzles me greatly is what this topic can mean for the Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. 

When I saw that she was nominated for a Latin Grammy I thought it was a curious detail, but I didn't give it too much importance; I honestly thought that was all the way it was going to go, a funny concession for the Cuban community in Miami and that's it. But what happened this Thursday night will remain a mystery to me forever and ever.

I understand what Yotuel and Beatriz Luengo earn with this, I understand what Maykel and El Funky earn, I understand what Gente de Zona and Descemer Bueno earn, but what does the Academy earn with this award? The prestige of being an institution connected to the social problems of the region? And I throw this adventurous hypothesis because neither aesthetically nor commercially this award is justified.

Homeland and Life accumulates 9.2 million views on YouTube, a far from modest amount for a video of Cuban artists, but they are ridiculous numbers in terms of industry, especially when you think that they have heavyweights like Gente de Zona. Another fact, to put the song in the context of the Latin market: in the last week, of the 100 most listened to songs on Spotify from Miami, none belong to a Cuban artist.

So, it is not commercial success that is being rewarded.

Even in a year not characterized by particularly notable nominated songs, almost any serious person would say that songs like Everything about you (Raw Alejandro, composed by him with four co-authors) and let our love be known (by El David Aguilar and Mon Laferte; defended by her with Alejandro Fernández) —to mention a couple— are compositions superior to Homeland and Life.

It is then that I think of the hypothesis of social commitment, and right there I cannot avoid my alarms going off, because the Academy has never been particularly recognized for its political conscience. When have the Grammys been interested in the social situation in Latin American countries? What songs have been recognized for their social impact? (Don't tell me Calle 13, which was a very unique phenomenon supported by Sony and impeccable musical production). Without going any further, where was the Academy when he left sharpening the knives Two years ago? What's happening here? And no, I refuse to fall into the simplistic trap of the myth of the Cuban-American mafia controlling Miami. The only explanation —irrational, I know— that I come up with is that it's an award for Cubans, that we're the only ones paying attention to the Latin Grammys.

Anyway, I am happy for the millions of Cubans who feel empowered by this award, and who see it as a victory for their aspirations for a better society; I am happy for the visibility it may give to the situation of Maykel Osorbo, Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and all the people detained in Cuba today for thinking differently, but from then on, I run out of arguments and methodology.

Avatar photo Rafa G. Escalona Father of a music magazine. Professional procrastinator. His goal is to be a DJ for a station at dawn. Prince of random. More posts

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  1. Marlon Elier Daniel Martinez says:

    Rafa my friend as with the Nobels, as with the Oscars, it is very difficult to separate the political influence of a certain phenomenon in a world where perhaps the worst pandemic is precisely politics and all that this word entails. It is a triumph not for the academy, it is a triumph for a cause and a step towards an end. Of diverse tastes, preferences are composed those that we know for life. A greeting, a hug and success in this beautiful project.

  2. Ramon says:

    I don't know why lately there is so much talk in jargon, as he himself writes as he pleases "I win, the academie rewards whoever likes it". What a stupid way to write just to look good with a sector of the population that more that demanding rights should start thinking about their social duties and obligations.

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