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

If you are Dominican and had been alive throughout the 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 automobile rides, or on the seashore, and he was possible your mami’s favourite artist to blast throughout her Saturday morning cleaning rituals. Throughout 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 manner past simply the Dominican neighborhood. With 30 million-plus albums bought world wide and greater than 20 Latin Grammy wins, Guerra has turn out to be a legend within the Latin music area 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 exterior 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 typically performed in Dominican folklore music. The progressive EP additionally consists of interludes, radio-style commercials, and even one in all Guerra’s favourite habichuelas guisadas recipes by Nuna, the lady who cooks in his dwelling. 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 once I began engaged on the album, [and] I noticed it was a variety of new issues — issues I have not finished earlier than,” Guerra tells POPSUGAR. “[With] ‘MAMBO 23,’ we had by no means finished merengue that quick. We started mixing it with classical, including French horn to the violins, which usually isn’t finished, and [we] diversified 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’s what has contributed to his signature sound. If a Juan Luis Guerra track performs on the radio, even when it is your first time listening to it, you may simply acknowledge it as one in all his. And with “Radio Güira,” there is a celebration of each old fashioned and new college Guerra. It fuses genres like mambo, merengue, rock and even jazz.

“I attempted very arduous to attach with a youthful viewers on this album. I’ve already linked with different audiences, those that can take heed to my music as a result of they prefer it — thank God. But I wished to attach with a youthful one,” Guerra says.

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

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

Guerra, who has additionally been in the midst of his US tour, is up for three Latin Grammy nominations for his track with Colombian artist Fonseca, “Si Tú Me Quieres.” With many years of success underneath his belt, the Dominican artist nonetheless feels humbled by the accolades and assist 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 is a good duty and a terrific privilege on the identical time. Remember that at my age, I had the duty to set the trail in Europe. . . . When we arrived to Europe, keep in mind, every 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 thing he is been in a position to write and for carrying him via such a protracted and profitable profession.

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

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

“The objective of each artist is that this music is known. When I discover or once I know {that a} track can rework the lifetime of one other individual, I believe that is once I really feel probably the most pleasure,” he concludes. “When 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 adjustments from unhappy to completely happy, I consider that is probably the most lovely reward that God may give us musicians. Therefore, to rework the lives of others is my largest hope with my music.”

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

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