What I’m Listening to This Week:
Album: En Letra de Otro (2022)
Replaying for the eighth time Goyo’s visual cover album, En Letra de Otro. Of ChocQuibTown fame, this Latin Grammy award winning powerful artist soothes you with a warm, sultry voice that praises one of the most marginalized places in Colombia, beset by historically institutional violence.
This cover album inspires, relaying legendary hits from Tego Calderón, Joe Arroyo, Shakira, Carlos Vives — and respinning Tito Puentes’ 1962 classic “Oye Como Va“.
I’m on this album because it’s fresh — it’s giving us creativity at the moment when the artist, Goyo, is so ready to distribute. Class is in session.
At the same time, it feels so familiar.
Through “Pa’ Que Retozen/Lo Conoces” (2003), Tego Calderón’s generation-defining anthem, Goyo takes me back to grinding Reggaeton on the street — even if it was just once — back in Medellín.
Then, “Pa’ Mayte” (1995) from Carlos Vives, another famous cover artist, off the chart-topping album La Tierra del Olvido, Goyo’s rendition, finally sung by a Black woman, puts me to work. It sets me on fire in a way only a desperate puya can. It’s fast, fast drums. And the lyrics! Well I learned each word back in ninth grade.
Shakira’s “Antología” ( 1995)— early Shakira, but not too, too early (post-punk). Oof! If you know the song, you know that it hits. I hear it, and it makes me ponder some deep, deep . . . . And Goyo plays it traditionally. True to Shakira‘s original melody and composition. I listen to it, closing my eyes. I don’t know who’s singing. Goyo plays an almost identical Shakira. And I can’t tell you whose rendition I find more moving.
Goyo hits on other Latin American artists over this 27 minute 22 second, 10 track album. The music is surpassed in quality only by the visual album, which premiered on HBO Max in March 2022.
Goyo: En Letra de Otro | Watch the Movie on HBO | HBO.com
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Each song receives an astounding visual treatment, while Goyo contextualizes her childhood experiences, her influences — many of them from inside her family. We meet them as she tours us through El Chocó, ultimately shining hope on her beautiful, beautiful home.
The book I’m reading advises, “steal like an artist”. And in producing a cover album, Goyo pays tribute, honors tradition, and builds something new, all at once.
Watch it! And support the Golden Girl who stared down terrible odds.