NEW YORK (AP) — Calle 13's Eduardo Cabra is shedding his Visante persona in a graphic new video that serves as a launch for his solo career and new record label.
The artist who's won 28 Grammy and Latin Grammy trophies will now be known simply as Cabra. The debut is not without some bloodshed.
In “La Cabra Jala Pal Monte,” filmed pre-pandemic in Argentina and released Friday, a man dressed in black from head to toe and with his face covered cuts Visitante’s throat before taking off his hood to reveal his identity: Cabra himself.
“Without Cabra there is no Visitante,” sings the 28-time Latin Grammy and Grammy winner from Puerto Rico in the song released on Friday, whose title — literally translated as “The Goat Pulls The Mountain” — borrows from a Latin American saying about the return to one’s origins.
“I don’t see it as a death,” the veteran producer told The Associated Press Friday from his studio in San Juan. “I see it as Cabra was always there.”
Cabra achieved fame and critical acclaim in the early 2000s as part of Calle 13, a duo he formed with his brother René Pérez, aka Residente. While Pérez was the voice of the group, Cabra's Visitante was its producer and musical director. Throughout the years, he has performed many other roles: producer of other artists, composer of original movie scores, creator of Trending Tropics (a duo with the Dominican singer-songwriter Vicente García). The idea of leaving behind his famous nickname, he said, was to consolidate all those sides of him.
“La Cabra Jala Pal Monte” is not only his first song as a main vocalist, but the first release of his new independent label La Casa del Sombrero, or The House of the Hat, based in San Juan. This, in fact, is what has him more excited: “The matter of independence in these times that we live in, when mainstream music has become like a single sound.”
His immediate plans for the label include working with Puerto Rican songwriter Sebastián Otero and researching the jibara music in order to create an “audiovisual document” about the folkloric genre from the island.
Getting in front of the microphone and the camera as the lead made Cabra feel “vulnerable and super insecure,” something he says has helped him to be more understanding as a producer.
“Maybe I'll try to be a little more sensitive when I work with other people,” he said. “Now, when I see someone as a producer, I can understand what they are going through and I try to connect with that.”
Next month he will be releasing more music as Cabra the soloist, but he’s quick to state that he’s doing this “without any expectations.”
“I am doing this because I want to keep on doing what I do, which is producing, launching new projects, collaborating with people that I like,” he said. “This consolidates all the things that I do, but I do them now under the same hat.”
Follow Sigal Ratner-Arias on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sigalratner.