Latinoamérica by Calle 13

Video retrieved from  http://vimeo.com/62380107#

There are a great deal of songs and music videos about the people and culture of Latin America, but the music video of Calle 13’s Latinoamérica does a particularly spectacular job of representing all of Latin America’s citizens. The music video of Latinoamérica is mostly comprised of brief shots of the faces of Latin America. The people in the music video are of indigenous, African, and European descent, young and old, male and female, financially stable and extremely poor. The video displays such diversity of people that if someone watched it without listening to the lyrics, they may not realize that all of the people are Latin Americans. However, when the listener turns up the volume and understands the lyrics, all of the faces start to become part of a whole.

The lyrics of Latinoamérica are highly meaningful because the range of themes that they refer to are significant across all of Latin America. People of many different backgrounds across the countries could listen to the song and relate to it. The lead vocalist Residente paints a picture of all of Latin America’s beauty and strength, but at the same time, he repeatedly refers to corporate control of Latin American land. Five hundred years ago, Christopher Columbus landed on the island of Hispaniola, kicking off a pattern of the wealthy seizing land from indigenous people and peasants and using it for profit. In Latinoamérica, Residente blends specific examples of exploitation of proletariate labor with the simple, yet powerful chorus:

Tú no puedes comprar el viento,Tú no puedes comprar el sol,

Tú no puedes comprar la lluvia,

Tú no puedes comprar el calor.

Tú no puedes comprar las nubes,

Tú no puedes comprar los colores,

Tú no puedes comprar mi alegría,

Tú no puedes comprar mis dolores.

You cannot buy the wind,You cannot buy the sun,

You cannot buy the rain,

You cannot buy the heat

You cannot buy the clouds,

You cannot buy the colors,

You cannot buy my joy,

You cannot buy my sorrows.

Although Residente sings specifically about the exploitation of Latin American land and labor, this message is one that people across the world can relate to. Residente’s vocals not only cause listeners to relate to his message, but they also cause them to feel solidarity with Latin Americans whose land has been stolen and abused.

The music video for Latinoamérica was created in a way that honors the message that the song sends. It would have been easy for the directors of the video, Milován Radovic and Jorge Carmona, to recruit a diverse range of actors and to shoot them in a studio. However, most of the scenes in the video were leftover footage from Calle 13’s 2009 documentary Sin Mapa (Without a Map). The majority of the footage was captured over 29 days in three countries on 16mm film. The animation, which is a significant symbolic element in the video, was created by several artists. The animated heart was designed by the Merida Brothers. Two Latin American street artists Entes y Pésimo (Entities and Terrible) did the graffiti, and the 2D animations were created by designer Gabriel Rojas.

The music video for Latinoamérica not only shows the faces and landscapes of Latin America, but it also unites them into one people and one land. As producer Milován Radovic said, Lationamérica “is the hymn that reminds us that we are brothers and that we have more things in common than boundaries.”

References:

Isabel Gandía and Milován Radovic. State of Sound Features Latinoamérica by Calle 13. Visura Magazine.

Silvia Guevara. Latinoamérica by Calle 13. Virtual Womex.

Amaris Castillo. Watch: Calle 13’s “Latinoamérica” Music Video. Latina. 2011.

Lyrics retrieved from: http://songlations.livejournal.com/53827.html?nojs=1&mode=reply

Video retrieved from: http://vimeo.com/62380107#

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