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Los Paquitos are a bolero band in a world conquered by reggaeton. PHOTO: RFI
Los Paquitos are a bolero band in a world conquered by reggaeton. PHOTO: RFI 

Los Paquitos: "Latinos don't only live on reggaeton"

Dusting off boleros with the band of Carlos Montenegro and Andrés Espinoza.

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Los Paquitos are a bolero band in a world conquered by reggaeton.

Broadcaster and journalist Jordi Batalle unraveled the enigmas of the band born in French territory in RFI. Their trajectory in the music studios has taken them to Europe, from where they intend to recover a genre that triumphed between the 40s and 70s of the last century on both sides of the continent.

Mexican tenor Carlos Montenegro and Chilean actor Andrés Espinoza met in France, where tenors are still booming, and created Los Paquitos. This is their second year revisiting the romantic genre in a modern way.

Carlos Montenegro has been a Mexican tenor who sang in the Symphonic Choir of the State of Mexico as first tenor after studying mezzosoprano at the University of Sonora and baritone with Roberto Bañuelas at the UNAM. For the last four years he has been studying soprano with Delphine Guevar at Bonigny and has collaborated with artists such as Armando Manzanero.

Andres Espinoza weaved a friendship with Carlos Montenegro that led to a project of electronic music and cumbia. They soon discovered that they both liked boleros and that it was a generational presence of their grandparents in both Mexico and Chile: "Latinos don't live by reggaeton alone".

They also consider that there is a great tradition of cinema that deals with the image of boleros.

Espinoza began his theater studies in Santiago de Chile following the methodology of Frenchman Jacques Lecoq, which ended up taking him to Paris in 2011. When asked about the musical genre, he reveals his postmodern self-consciousness by distancing himself from the original macho lyrics.

ORIGINS

The way in which up to now bolero has been showing the most dramatic and sometimes cruel romantic face of the Latinos perhaps is the differential axis.

Angry scorn and spiteful mistresses formed echoes of the despair of the heart that were the keynote of traditional boleros.

Boleros were born in the 19th century in Cuba, with soft rhythmic bases in 4/4 time signatures, being a reflection of the romantic imaginary of that society. It should not be confused with the Spanish bolero, which is earlier and works on a 3/4 rhythm.

The first recorded bolero dates back to 1840, written by José Pepe Sánchez in Santiago de Cuba, popularized in mambo and guaracha bars. Often accompanied by a fast dance that is related to the habaneras and the son that was popularized throughout the previous century at the same time as the Argentine tango.

Its golden age was in the eighties thanks to its popularity on the radio, exporting Latin rhythms thanks to voices like the Mexican Alejandro Fernandez or the Colombian Charlie Zaa, rooting strongly in the social imaginary from which Los Paquitos intend to resurrect it.

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