19 June 2015

Colombia #2: Prayers & Passion

Today Colombia becomes the first South American country to receive a second feature post in this blog. Which is very fitting actually, since Colombia was also the very first South American country I featured. You can read the first Colombian music post here, though I myself cannot bear to read my older posts since I remember how bad quality they were. But they feature great music nevertheless.

Wikipedia: Colombia

The continent of South America has only 12 countries, which is just a quarter of the amount Europe and Asia in example feature. Because I want to keep my blog posts varied, South America gets less attention than some other continents (Oceania is in the same category with South America). This definitely does not mean that I do not like South American music; I actually am very interested on the South American culture and it is the second most interesting continent to me (Asia being the first one, obviously).

The title of the first Colombia post was Sex & Crime. This reflected to the themes that the songs of that post had (I really could have brought those up better and would have had so much more to say about them). This time the title, as you can see, is Prayers & Passion, which I obviously picked to be in the same form is the Sex & Crime title. This title too reflects to the themes featured in the songs of this post. They are kind of similar titles subject-wise too and I suppose this tells a lot about Colombian society and how it shows up in the music; In the first post there was drugs and prostitutes, in this there is drugs and strippers.

The first artist of this post is Juanes. Juan Esteban Aristizábal Vásquez was born 42 years ago in a municipality called Carolina del Príncipe, which is located northwestern parts of Colombia fairly near to the border to Panama. He is of Basque and Spanish descent. Juanes grew up in Medellín, the second largest city in Colombia, where he witnessed lots of crimes and drug lord Pablo Escobar's reign. This affected Juanes a lot and made him want to make the world a better place; Juanes has done lots of activism and he used music as an escape from the horrors he had to face as a young boy.

The first song is called A Dios Le Pido. This song was the lead single from Juanes' second studio album. It was originally released in 2002, but also re-released in 2006, which could be considered the peak of Juanes' career. A Dios Le Pido is an alternative rock song with a strong latino sound. The title means 'I ask God' and in the lyrics Juanes asks God ie. protect his family and friend. He also asks God that his country would not have to bleed so much blood; This part in particular made the song a huge hit in the Latin America and it probably reflects back to the horrors Juanes grew up seeing.

This is my personal favourite from Juanes. The song is very catchy and sounds very latino to me. I have mentioned many times that I do not like to dance and it is very hard for a song to make me feel like dancing: This song does just that. Even if the song is a rock song, it has sort of a pop shade to it too, in my opinion at least. I remember this song being in the radio all the time back in the day and I found it lots of fun already then; Now years later the song has not lost its shine and I feel like it is that kind of song that can be liked by people of all age groups.

Juanes started his career in a metal band called Ekhymosis in 1988. The band lasted for about ten years in which time they released five studio albums, though their success remained fairly small and in Colombian markets only. After Ekhymosis disbanded, Juanes started a solo career. His solo career started of well with his debut album in 2000. His third album Mi Sangre, released in 2004, turned out to be a huge hit; A single from this album, La Camisa Negra, turned out to be a worldwide hit charting number one in many countries around the world.

La Camisa Negra is perhaps Juanes' most or second most notable single, competing only with A Dios Le Pido. It was released in 2005 and like I said it received huge success, particularly in the Latin America and Europe. From my part I can say it was major hit in Finland too and played on the radio and music channels A LOT. In Italy the song was used to support neo-fascism (the title of the song means 'the black shirt' and black shirts connect with the neo-fascism movement), but Juanes has stated that the song has not meant to have anything to do with neo-fascism.

La Camisa Negra is a rock song also falling in the genre of cumbia. Cumbia is a music genre that originates from Colombia and popular throughout the Latin America. In my opinion there is an interesting sound in the song, perhaps it is the cumbia sound? I remember highly disliking this song when I was little and it played everywhere; I remember finding the sound of this song annoying. Nowadays I like this song a lot and find it very catchy. It is a bit dark and strong song, so maybe this is for more mature taste.

The last song from Juanes is Delirio. Delirio is from Juanes' most recent studio album Loco De Amor, released about a year ago. The song Delirio does not seem to have been a single, but it has a music video whatsoever. I by the way find this music video quite stylish. The title means in English 'delirium', which I had to translate also into Finnish since this was a brand new word to me. Lots of new things learned today so far: delirium, cumbia... What next? :D

Okay, back to the song itself. I find this song more mature and calmer than the previous two. Which obviously is not surprising since most people's music tastes change with time, Juanes' too. I really love this song and it could be competing for the spot of my favourite Juanes song, even though A Dios Le Pido is loaded with so many memories. I do not know what Juanes sings about, but for me this song feels emotional and fairly sad. The atmosphere is kind of calm, but also kind of restless. Nevertheless, it is a very lovely song to listen to.

A Dios Le Pido is from Juanes' 2002 album Un Día Normal, La Camisa Negra from 2004 album Mi Sangre and Delirio from 2014 album Loco De Amor.

The other artist of this post is Verónica Orozco. I was actually going to feature only one song from Verónica and then one from a certain band, but I could not choose between these two songs from Verónica, so I decided to feature them both. The band shall get a spot in my next Colombia feature post, whenever that will be out. Besides I have been liking Verónica's music a lot lately, so it feels like she deserves a bit more attention. Unfortunately the information I can find on her in English is limited and my Spanish is still even more limited.

Verónica, full name Verónica Orozco Aristizábal (I have never heard this last name before and now the both artists from this blog post coincidentally have it!) was born 36 years ago in the capital of Colombia, Bogotá. Verónica's sister Ana María Orozco is an awarded actress. Verónica too is an actress and her filmography is far bigger than her discography actually; Verónica has released only one album, which I find unfortunately since I like her music a lot.

The first song is called Miénteme. The title means 'lie', which I find a bit surprising since this song feels kind of sweet. The sound feels old to me, old in a good historical meaning rather than overplayed and boring. The 60s/70s inspired music video supports this feeling. I find this song calm and lovely despite the name. The old sound makes the song definitely stand out from the crowd.

This other song is one of the songs that I have been obsessing over lately: Pasion Asesina. It is not too hard to translate the title even without the help from the dictionary: passion assassin. This song was featured in a movie called Soñar No Cuesta Nada, in which Verónica appears in a role of stripper. This song plays in the movie when Verónica strips and a clip of this can be found from YouTube; I still felt rather featuring a video with just photos of her (though a tad bit naughty photos) to keep this blog more suitable for all age groups and reading environments, haha!

Like I said I have been obsessing over this lately a lot. I find this song very dramatic and catchy. The beat from the chorus definitely hits strongly and I can feel it deep inside of me. Verónica's voice sounds great and the fits the mysterious feel that the song overall has. I can hear words like pistol in the lyrics, so I expect the lyrics be strong too. The strong and mysterious sound of this song makes me come back to it over and over again, and the song is one of my favourite songs this spring/summer.

Both Miénteme and Pasion Asesina are from Verónica's only studio album, self-titled Verónica Orozco, released in 2006.

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