Juan Luis Guerra Talks About His New EP “Radio Güira”


Should you’re Dominican and have been alive in the course of the Nineteen Eighties and ’90s, likelihood is Juan Luis Guerra‘s hits turned the soundtrack of your life. They’d play at each household perform, throughout lengthy automotive rides, or on the seaside, and he was probably your mami’s favourite artist to blast throughout her Saturday morning cleansing rituals. All through his prolific and four-decade profession, Guerra has not solely reinvented the tropical rhythms of his native Dominican Republic alongside his band 4.40, however he is additionally reached audiences method past simply the Dominican neighborhood. With 30 million-plus albums offered all over the world and greater than 20 Latin Grammy wins, Guerra has develop into a legend within the Latin music house and never only for his poetic lyrics — he is sometimes called the Pablo Neruda of merengue and bachata — but additionally for by no means being afraid to innovate or colour outdoors of the strains of what “Dominican music” is meant to sound like. His new EP, “Radio Güira,” which was launched earlier this month, proves simply that.

“Radio Güira” was impressed by each a radio present Guerra had years in the past, in addition to his love for the güira, a percussion instrument that is usually performed in Dominican folklore music. The modern EP additionally consists of interludes, radio-style commercials, and even considered one of Guerra’s favourite habichuelas guisadas recipes by Nuna, the girl who cooks in his residence. You hear her reciting the recipe within the intro to the “Cositas de Amor” observe.

“I had a radio [show] within the Dominican Republic referred to as Radio Viva and it performed music from the continents. Then after I began engaged on the album, [and] I spotted it was a variety of new issues — issues I have not performed earlier than,” Guerra tells POPSUGAR. “[With] ‘MAMBO 23,’ we had by no means performed merengue that quick. We started mixing it with classical, including French horn to the violins, which usually just isn’t performed, and [we] diverse the orchestration.”

Guerra has been fusing completely different sounds and genres for the reason that ’80s, when virtually no different Latin music artist — not to mention a Dominican artist — was daring sufficient to attempt. It is what has contributed to his signature sound. If a Juan Luis Guerra tune performs on the radio, even when it is your first time listening to it, you will simply acknowledge it as considered one of his. And with “Radio Güira,” there is a celebration of each old skool and new college Guerra. It fuses genres like mambo, merengue, rock and even jazz.

“I attempted very laborious to attach with a youthful viewers on this album. I’ve already related with different audiences, those that can hearken to my music as a result of they prefer it — thank God. However I needed to attach with a youthful one,” Guerra says.

Guerra’s inspiration to fuse sounds early in his profession had quite a bit to do with the music he listened to throughout his youth ­— a variety of it being rock. He was an enormous fan of The Beatles rising up, for instance.

“The sound of our guitar, the way in which I play guitar, it is vitally rock-oriented inside bachata,” he says. “That is why our bachata has a special colour in comparison with others. I’ve at all times been drawn to mixing completely different genres and I feel the consequence was superb [and] a variety of the youthful technology are doing the identical.”

Guerra, who has additionally been in the course of his US tour, is up for 3 Latin Grammy nominations for his tune with Colombian artist Fonseca, “Si Tú Me Quieres.” With a long time of success underneath his belt, the Dominican artist nonetheless feels humbled by the accolades and help he receives from the neighborhood.

“[It’s] a privilege I settle for with a variety of gratitude and fills me with pleasure. I settle for it as a present from God that they’re motivated by my music,” he says. “It’s a nice duty and an ideal privilege on the identical time. Do not forget that at my age, I had the duty to set the trail in Europe. . . . Once we arrived to Europe, keep in mind, every little thing was salsa. If we did merenge, to them it was salsa . . . I’ve had the privilege of opening doorways, principally with merengue and bachata as a result of salsa was already identified, and naturally, it’s a privilege for us Dominicans to share our music with them. “

As for his poetic lyrics that may soften anybody’s coronary heart, Guerra credit his religion for every little thing he is been capable of write and for carrying him via such a protracted and profitable profession.

“My religion in Jesus is what holds me. Once we collect right here, principally musicians, we pray: ‘Our God, from you comes our capability. Holy spirit take management over every little thing we’re going to do right here,'” he shares. “All the pieces you hear is impressed by him. We’re merely placing our tasks in his palms and he directs us.”

With all of the devastation occurring on this planet, Guerra desires listeners to expertise pleasure with “Radio Güira.” He refers back to the EP as “excellent news” that’s a lot wanted within the occasions we’re at the moment residing in.

“The aim of each artist is that this music is known. Once I discover or after I know {that a} tune can remodel the lifetime of one other particular person, I feel that is after I really feel essentially the most pleasure,” he concludes. “Once I sing ‘Las Avispas’ [a track off of his 2004 album ‘Para Ti,’ which is entirely dedicated to his faith] and the message is obtained and an individual modifications from unhappy to joyful, I consider that is essentially the most lovely present that God can provide us musicians. Due to this fact, to remodel the lives of others is my largest hope with my music.”

Certainly, reworking the lives of others via music is one thing many would agree Guerra has already performed.


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