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Song of the week: No hay nadie como tu

On the face of it the edgy urban sound of the Puerto Rican group Calle 13 couldn’t be more different to the folksy melodies of Violeta Parra and Mercedes Sosa that we featured a couple of weeks ago. But delve a little deeper you’ll find that a common thread of socialism and faith in humanity connects these two extremely distinct sounds and eras. Parra and Sosa would also have been proud that the two step-brothers who make up the band’s core, Residente and Vistante, are very vociferous supporters of the Puerto Rican independence movement.

Calle 13 strongly object to their music being labelled as Reggaeton, in part because of the social implications this would have, but also due to their repeated cross-referencing of other genres and sounds. Having said that the characteristic ‘Dem Bow’ beat of Reggaeton is present in most if not all of their music.

Even if rap isn’t usually your cup of tea, the infectiously catchy No hay nadie como tu is well-worth listening to over and over again. It’s a very unconventional love song which (much like Gracias a la vida) celebrates the enormous variety which this world has to offer. It lists a torrent of contradictions in our world before hitting the life-affirming chorus which proclaims ‘ but there’s no-one like you, my love.’

Here’s one of my favourite bits:

Hay enfermedades y medicinas / There are diseases and medicines Hay bolsillos llenos, carteras vacias / There are full pockets, empty purses Hay mas ladrones que policias / There are more thieves than policemen Hay religiones, hay ateismo / There are religions and atheism Hay capitalismo y comunismo / There is capitalism and communism Aunque nos parecemos, no somos los mismos / Even if we resemble each other we're not the same Porque?, porque?... / Because, because... No hay nadie como tu... / There’s no-one like you

No hay nadie como tu provides an extremely refreshing world view, and it’s also a fantastic song for students of Spanish as Residente (the lead singer) enunciates every single word even as he raps at the speed of light. Follow this link to the original lyrics or this one for a (slightly ropey) English translation.

This song is by no means Calle 13’s only success, so get out there and listen to some of their other hits and let us know which one resonates most with you.


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