Are you as over the New Year and all of the resolutions you made as I am? With January behind us I’m ready to let some of those goals for the New Year slip and start up the fiesta again to get through the rest of the winter. Valentine’s Day may not get you excited if you’re #single, but at least Carnival is just around the corner—the countdown is on!
Locos por Juana released their album, Caribe, back in October and their first single off the record, “Se fue la luz,” will help you to get ready for the celebraciones. Set in Barranquilla, the video depicts a Carnival celebration that is authentically colombiano y quillero complete with warm Caribbean weather, brightly colored costumes, and dancing in the street.
I chatted with Itawe from Locos por Juana and he created a playlist for us to help channel the Carnival vibe at home if you can’t make it to Barranquilla.
Here’s what he had to say about the album and Carnival:
HipLatina: Hey Itawe, thanks for taking the time to chat with us again! Congrats on the album release and thanks for sharing the playlist you crafted for HipLatina. It looks like you’ve chosen all kinds of genres and sounds. Do you have certain songs you listen to depending on the occasion or what you’re doing? In the car? At the gym? #defiesta?
Itawe Correa: We always as a group love to listen to music. From pop music to anything else. It just has to be good music—music that makes you move and that you can feel. The playlist is a lot of what we’ve discovered as a group and listen to together. We also included some of our songs and songs we’ve collaborated on. As musicians we really look for having that groove and vibe while delivering a positive message at the same time.
HL: Last time we talked a lot about the collaborations you had done in the past. Is there any one collaboration on the album that you enjoyed the most or that you think will be most surprising for your listeners?
IC: I think one of our best collaborations on the album is with Talib Kweli. It was a dream come true. Talib is one of those rappers who is a master and has created his own genre. Even big stars like Kanye West thank Talib Kweli for being an influence. Ten years ago we used to play one of Talib Kweli’s tracks while on tour and we joked to each other saying, “Hey guys, can you imagine if one day we got to do a track with him and mix our two worlds together to bring in some hip hop?” Now it’s actually happening! It’s exactly what we dreamed. We a song in mind and showed it to Talib and he loved it—we just finished the video, which I think is going to make people really crazy. It’s a beautiful video which shows how we bring the worlds of hip hop and Latin fusion together.
HL: One of the songs you included on the playlist is your single with Chocquibtown on “Se fue la luz.” I like how it starts off with the aerial view of the Barranquilla sign in brightly colored letters. What was it that made you choose Barranquilla and the Carnival vibe for the shoot?
IC: So we created the song with this rhythm called chande. It’s a rhythm that was born in Barranquilla and you hear during Carnival, so we decided to experiment with it. It’s an older rhythm that’s existed in Colombia for many years but you don’t hear it so often. We adapted it to our own sound. We wrote the song in Barranquilla a few years ago too. We were in a writing session at our hotel and then the lights went out, so we just started singing this chorus “Se fue la luz…” and laughing about it. The song came to us as we learned that it’s pretty normal for the lights to go out in the city. The song captures this universal spirit that you see not just in Colombia, but in other places in Central and South America—it doesn’t matter if the lights go out and not everything is going your way, you can still have these amazing positive vibes. Things change that you can’t control and we wanted to portray this feeling that you don’t have to be brought down. We wanted to showcase people staying happy all the time.
Here’s the “Se fue la luz” video:
HL: What made you want to work with Chocquibtown?
IC: We’ve known them from the beginning of their career and when we were starting our career. The first time they came to the U.S. they actually stayed at my house and we became really good friends. It’s beautiful that we were able to see each other make something big and watch our careers flourish. When we wrote this song, we thought about two regions in Colombia that don’t get together to do music much since they’re separated by miles and miles of mountains. Chocquibtown is from the Pacific region and our music usually has a Caribbean feel. Bringing those two regions together and bringing the party together was so special to showcase how Colombia’s rich cultures can be combined.
HL: When you were filming the video with Chocquibtown, did you have a moment you enjoyed the most? Or something that was the most challenging?
IC: It was beautiful. We recorded the video in Barrio Abajo, which is the neighborhood where Barranquilla Carnival starts and ends. We did the video there and were surprised that so many people from the neighborhood—maybe 350 people—came out and started dancing with us and making us feel like we were at home. It was so special that they got involved—they actually decorated the neighborhood for us. It wasn’t a challenge—it was more like a gift. Everyone wanted to be part of the video. The dancers you see in the video were there because they wanted to celebrate their community and be there with us.
HL: It sounds like you have the theme song all ready for Barranquilla Carnival!
IC: We actually received a message after launching the video that they loved the song down there, so we’re hoping to be there in person for Carnival!
Even though I won’t actually be in Barranquilla for Carnival, I do have some shiny party shoes similar to the pair Itawe is wearing in the “Se fue la luz” video, so I guess that’s as ready as I’ll be. If you are able to make it to Barranquilla in person, check out the Carnival schedule here.