Residenté: Movie Review

Puerto Rican musician Rene Perez Joglar AKA Residenté, who founded one of Latin America’s most influential rap groups Calle 13, traces his global ancestry in the newly released documentary Residenté. After taking a DNA test, Residenté embarks on a global adventure to record his latest album, visiting blood countries such as Siberia, Ossetia, Georgia, Armenia, China, Burkina Faso and Ghana, and collaborating with local musicians. The result is a rich tapestry of culture and sound, weaved by the journey of his ancestors across the world.

The sonic meeting of artists from different parts of the world has historically created some of my absolute favorite music. For instance, Ali Farka Touré and Ry Cooder’s album Talking Timbuktu, (Touré representing Mali and Cooder representing the United States) is an earthy masterpiece. The collaboration of Frank Sinatra (USA) with Antonio Carlos Jobim (Brazil) for their critically acclaimed 1967 album Francis Albert Sinatra & Antônio Carlos Jobim: exceptional, incomparable beauty. The music created by Residenté and his global collaborators, although fascinating, usually sounds disjointed and lacks essential cohesion. However, I applaud him for the courage and imagination it took for him to accomplish this powerful mission. The film is a gorgeous, moving story, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in music, travel, humanity, passion, culture, and the history of global human migration.

“I’m not the one writing my lyrics: the path taken writes them for me. The genetic map that unites us all is our pentagram, and the only way to feel it honestly is by feeling what others feel.” — Residenté



Photo By Alejandra Quintero Sinisterra (originally posted to Flickr as residente, calle13.)