Saturday, February 26, 2011

De Musica Ligera: Devlish dance unfairly burns Calle 13

Puerto Rican reggaeton duo Calle 13 is no strangers to controversy due to their political views. The group pulls no punches in letting their opinions be heard such as lead singer Rene “Residente” Perez calling Puerto Rican Gov. Luis Fortuno a “son of a massive bitch” during a performance at the 2009 edition of the Premios MTV Latin America.

On Wednesday Calle 13 helped open this year’s edition of Chile’s prestigious Viña del Mar music festival with a mix of high-tempo music and songs with a social message. Organizers tried to censor the group yet that did not stop Perez from appearing on stage with “Arriba Mapuche” written on his back. His solidarity with Chilean indigenous people extended to inviting Yatiris to perform a type of native dance called la diablada:

Oddly enough the above performance of la diablada has caused controversy in Bolivia where Minister for Culture Elizabeth Salguero said she would send a letter of complaint to Chile. Her ire is that Calle 13 neglected to acknowledge that the dance is Bolivian in origin. “We are glad when our dances and cultural expressions are spread to other countries but they need to recognize that they are from Bolivia,” said Salguero to a local daily.

Unfortunately this has not been the only time in recent years that la diablada has caused an overreaction. In 2009 Salguero’s predecessor, Pablo Groux, criticized Peru’s Miss Universe pageant representative for wearing a la diablada-related costume. Yet as blogger Midori Snyder noted at the time “both Peru and Chile claim the tradition of the Devil Dance as well -- and a former Miss Universe from Chile wore the costume way back in 1983 and 1989 during the pageant.”

Video Source - YouTube
Online Sources- La Razon, RPP, The Latin Americanist, Peru21, In the Labyrinth


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