Skip Navigation
NPR News
x (x)

Black, Puerto Rican And Proud: Guest DJ Tego Calderón

by Jasmine Garsd
May 23, 2013

See this

Gifted Puerto Rican rapper Tego Calderon is seen outside his studio, El Sitio, in Santurce, San Juan, Puerto Rico. A man walks past a mural of Puerto Rican singer Ismael Rivera in the La Bombilla neighborhood of Petare, eastern Caracas, Venezuela.

Hear this

This text will be replaced
Launch in player

Share this


Explore this

Reported by

Jasmine Garsd

A few months ago, while in Puerto Rico for NPR's Morning Edition, I got a chance to sit down with one of my favorite Spanish-language rappers, Tego Caldern.

Caldern is one of today's most fascinating Puerto Rican musicians; he's responsible for some of the most danceable and sexy Spanish-language rap and reggaeton ever made. His rhymes are lean and minimalistic, with little room for silliness in his thick, no-nonsense drawl. While many other Spanish-language rappers border on agitated sexual hysteria, Caldern always keeps cool, whether a cute woman is dancing for him or he's addressing his desire for Puerto Rican independence under a bed of heavy-metal music. The guy is unshakeable.

No matter what he's talking about, El Abayarde, as he's also known, writes thoughtful and intelligent lyrics. When Caldern visited Alt.Latino last year, the conversation mostly revolved around his life story, as well as the release of his most recent mixtape, El Original Gallo Del Pais. We also talked a bit about topics that permeate most of his work: his African roots.

The conversation was so interesting, in fact, that we hungered for more; besides, Caldern is a fun guy to hang out with. There was no way I'd leave the island without grabbing some time with him, so I headed to his studio in the Santurce neighborhood of San Juan and asked him to share his thoughts on Afro-Puerto Rican history, music, culture and politics.

Caldern ended up sharing amazing history, insights and music, and included lots of bomba (traditional music of Puerto Rico), plenty of the iconic Ismael Rivera and even some spoken-word recordings. It's a discussion I found stimulating and thought-provoking.

——————————————————————————————————————-

Hace unos meses, viajando por Puerto Rico junto al equipo del programa de noticias matutinas Morning Edition, pude pasar un rato con uno de mis msicos favoritos: Tego Caldern.

Caldern es uno de los msicos boricuas ms fascinantes de hoy. Ha creado algunas de las canciones ms sexys y bailables del rap latino y el reggaetn. Sus rimas son siempre minimalistas y al punto: no cabe lugar para las palabras vacas en su manera lenta y espesa de recitar. Por alguna razn muchos de los raperos en espaol siempre parecen estar al borde de un ataque de nervios; pero Tego siempre mantiene la calma, ya sea que una chica linda est bailando a su lado, o si habla de su deseo de un Puerto Rico libre, con el trasfondo de msica de heavy metal. El tipo es la serenidad en carne viva.

Otra cosa que distingue al Abayarde, como tambin se lo conoce, es que no importa de qu se trata la cancin: sus letras siempre son contemplativas y sumamente inteligentes. Cuando visit a Alt.Latino el ao pasado, hablamos mucho sobre su historia y su mas reciente trabajo, El Original Gallo Del Pas. Pero tambin se lleg a hablar de un tema muy importante para Tego, que es su herencia Africana.

La conversacin que tuvimos en esa poca fue tan interesante, que nos quedamos con ganas de ms. Yo no tena ninguna intencin de irme de esa isla sin ver a nuestro amigo, as que logr escaparme un rato de mis obligaciones y dirigirme a su estudio de grabacin en el barrio de Santurce, en San Juan.

Acabamos charlando acerca de la cultura, la msica y la historia de los afrodescendientes no slo en Puerto Rico, sino en Estados Unidos y en Amrica Latina. Escuchamos mucha msica bomba (tradicional de la isla), bastante Ismael Rivera, e incluso poesa hablada.

Espero que el programa de esta semana les resulte tan interesante a ustedes como me result a mi. Siempre les pedimos a nuestros oyentes su participacin y, en particular con un tema tan importante como este, tenemos ansias de saber sus opiniones.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Missing some content? Check the source: NPR
Copyright(c) 2014, NPR

Visitor comments

on:

NCPR is supported by:

This is a Visitor-Supported website.