The Cuban urban music duo Gente de Zona, winner of four Latin Grammys, including two for “Patria y vida”, the “song that changed Cuba” and which cannot have a second part because it is “unique”, is celebrating her new album, “De menor a mayor”, the dream of singing with Celia Cruz.
On Friday, April 8, this album “innovative” in sound and lyrics will begin to play on digital platforms, “but without losing its identity”, which has been for Alexander Delgado and Randy Malcom a “vent” of what they usually do, according to what they say in an interview with Efe via Zoom from Chile.
The duo is going to be a jury of the musical talent contest “La voz” of Chilevisión together with Chilean artists and the Mexican Yuri for five months, but they will continue with their commitments, such as a summer tour of Europe that will start in Madrid and end “by Southern Spain”.
As jurors they are going to insist on giving the contestants “good vibes”, they say.
“From minor to major”, a title that refers to the way they built their career -“climbing music from scratch”, “warring”, they say- includes songs with Carlos Vives, India Martínez, Becky G., Maffio , Gerardo Ortiz, Geon and a “sample” with the “queen of Cuba”.
With the Colombian Vives they sing “El Negrito”, where they incorporate the vallenato; with the Spanish Martínez, “Solos”, with touches of techno, flamenco and tropical sounds; with Maffio, “Tell me about Miami”; with Becky G, “Girl”; with Gerardo Ortiz, “Another bottle”, and with Geon, “TikTok”.
There are also themes of the two solos.
CUBA IN MUSIC AND IN THE HEART
In “Vampiro”, a festive and happy song, the magic of technology unites the voices of Gente de Zona with those of their admired Celia Cruz, whom Alex and Randy mention in unison as the artist with whom they would have most wanted to share stage.
“It’s not the same as (singing) physically,” they say, but they still consider it a “blessing” to have the “tumbao” and the “sugar” of the “guarachera de Cuba,” whom they never met.
In a press release for the release of the album, they stated that “From minor to major”, with its variety of genres and collaborations, has allowed them to continue with their “mission to use music to bring people together and bring them joy”.
But Alexander and Randy, who say they are “virtually exiled” in the US, also have another “mission”: “to continue denouncing so that everyone who does not know that there is a dictatorship in Cuba, there are political prisoners, young people imprisoned unjustly, a system that does not work and that these characters continue to dominate (…) excluding people from their rights and exiling them.”
Alex laments that “the whole world does not look at Cuba”, asserts that the fight will continue and believes that the solution has to come from the Cubans themselves. “The only thing left for us is to keep fighting,” he adds.
“It is a country that does not improve, it is a farce” and “the Cuban has no other option but to leave”, because “there are no opportunities neither for the youth nor for anyone”, he points out in reference to the official data that more than 46,000 Cubans they arrived in the US by land in five months.
Alexander adds that for those 46,000 who arrived there are many others who could not leave, even if they wanted to, because nobody wants to live “slave to a dictatorship.”
Both rule out that there may be a second song from “Patria y vida”, the musical phenomenon in which they participated together with Yotuel Romer, Descemer Bueno and the rappers “El Funky”, who could leave Cuba in 2021, and “El Osorbo” , who is imprisoned on the island.
The song became the anthem of the July 11 protests and demands for change in Cuba.
The Latin Grammys recognized “Patria y Vida” as Song of the Year 2021 and also won the award for Best Urban Music Song.
“It is a phenomenon that only occurs once in a long time”, there can only be “one Homeland and life” because it is “unique” and “came from the heart”, assures this duo who had never before made a protest song and their label It was the party and the joy.
MUSIC FAMILY SECRETS
Gente de Zona became internationally known in 2014 for its collaboration with Enrique Iglesias in “Bailando”, a success that was followed in 2015 by “La gozadera” and “Traidora”, both with Marc Anthony.
The origins of Gente de Zona go back to the year 2000 when Alexander Delgado founded a group together with rappers from the Havana neighborhood of Alamar and the formation has been a duo since 2013, when Jacob Forever separated and Alex and Randy Malcom remained.
When asked about the secret of being as well matched as a good marriage, Randy, the more talkative of the two until one in the afternoon, humorously says Alexander, who does not like to get up early, says that “having things are very clear”, mutual respect and that they love each other as brothers.
“We are the yin and yang of Gente de Zona,” he says.
This story was originally published on April 7, 2022 5:56 a.m.