Calle 13 Concert Gathers over 25,000 People in Old San Juan

calle-13-y-ruben-blades-en-madrid

Puerto Rican alternative urban group Calle 13 (René Pérez Joglar, Eduardo Cabra Martínez, and, sometimes, Ileana Cabra) was very much acclaimed tonight in their first concert in San Juan, Puerto Rico—after three years of censorship—gathering around 25,000 people at the Isla Grande Pier.

Received by an energetic and euphoric audience, the show started at 10:30pm with the songs “Vamo’ a portarnos mal,” “Nadie como tú,” and “Baile de los pobres.” René Pérez Joglar, the lead singer of the group, opened the concert with his sister Ileana Cabra, and expressed his joy to the audience, saying that it was a real blessing to be there.

During their fourth song, they played a recording of San Juan mayor Jorge Santini insulting the group. The crowd reacted strongly upon being reminded of the mayor’s act of censorship.  Santini, who was defeated by Carmen Yulín Cruz, had banned Calle 13 from performing in the capital since 2009.

The group also spoke in favor of improved education in Puerto Rico. Pérez stated, “We have to unite and demand that the government give priority to education as it has never been done before. We have no need for “dolphinariums.” no need for trivialities; what we need are qualified teachers, time in school. Puerto Rico is experiencing too much violence. There is hatred. We must focus on education. That’s why we request a free and accessible university. If there were better education, there would be less violence.”

Rubén Blades also made an appearance at 11:30pm and sang “La Perla” before a screaming audience. Other performers who joined Calle 13 on stage were Tego Calderón and Lucecita Benítez, who sang “Latinoamérica” with the group (provoke very negative reviews for her poor performance).

In view of the recent catastrophic Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Connecticut, Pérez exclaimed, “Here’s to a Puerto Rico without bullets,” before singing the song alluding “La bala” [The Bullet] which alludes to violence on the island.

The group ended the concert with a few classics from their repertoire “Suave,” “Chulin Chulin Chunfly,” “Muerte en Hawaii,” “Atrévete-te-te,” “Calma pueblo,” “Beso de desayuno,” “La jirafa,” and, at the very end, “Locura con fiesta de locos.”

For full articles (in Spanish), see http://www.elnuevodia.com/milesesperanporlapresentaciondecalle13-1408774.html and http://entretenimiento.latam.msn.com/ve/musica/articulo.aspx?cp-documentid=255157115

Photo from Calle 13’s Madrid concert (with Rubén Blades): http://www.salirpormadrid.com/noticias/calle-13-y-ruben-blades-en-madrid

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