New Album: Juan Luis Guerra’s “A son de Guerra”

Three years after his last album La llave de mi corazón [The Key to My Heart], Dominican singer-songwriter Juan Luis Guerra has just completed A son de Guerra [a play on the phrase “to Guerra’s beat” and “to the beat of war”—his last name means war in Spanish]. He considers this latest album to be the richest of his career, stylistically-speaking, “thanks to the fusion of various musical genres.” Besides bachata and merengue, rhythms with which he is usually associated, there is also jazz, blues, cumbia, rock, rap, son, and mambo.

Guerra is known for his interest in experimenting with new sounds and for a musical career that has successfully combined different types of music, from reggae to funk, jazz, and the Cuban son. He deems experimentation as fundamental because “innovation is what broadens an artist’s musical range.”

“Bachata en Fukuoka,” inspired by his trip to Japan, and “Mi bendición”[My blessing], dedicated to his wife, are examples of the “most romantic” songs included in this album. But in A son de Guerra there is also space for other themes, including strong social criticism, in pieces like “Apaga y vámonos,” “Arregla los papeles,” “La guagua,” or “La calle” (which he recorded in collaboration with the Colombian singer Juanes). Guerra says, “I have always liked to put forward this kind questioning with strong social content, so that they will serve for reflection; in this case, the topics are are related to the crisis we are currently going through and also to the lack of integrity of mankind.”

Winner of 15 Grammy Awards, Guerra has participated in many humanitarian activities such as fundraising to help children with disabilities or for the construction of a children’s hospital in Haiti after the devastation caused by the January earthquake. He asserts that this type of project “should be part of our responsibility; artists must get together and participate in such activities, since we have the power to communicate.”

For full article and video/interview with Juan Luis Guerra, see

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