Premium Latin Music, Dominican Republic
Rating: 98 ★★★★★
By Carlos Reyes
The first lines in Rita Indiana’s novel La Estrategia de Chochueca reads “Habían matado a alguien afuera. Podía oír los gritos y el correteo de la muchedumbre. Loca por saber algo, yo también corrí.” Add Rita Indiana Hernandez to the list of extraordinary individuals who carry transcendence in every step of their creative spectrum. Rita, a visionary, dances around its own dialect, yet reveals her visceral experiences through universal language. She is a unique voice and one of our generation’s most creative personas. Always drawn to apply her vision to new narratives, she found the monster that would allow her dialect to fully blossom, music, the kindest, most accessible medium. “La Sofi” was the first exercise of this newfound channel; it offered her the possibilities of reaching hysteria through her own terms, it was the start of her colloquialism, the start of the Rita Indiana narrative.
After leaving the Dominican Republic to exercise her existence in New York and Puerto Rico, she embedded her high art into the veins of music, offering her first official works as one half of Miti Miti. Rita had found the medium, but was out of her course, like the character of Silvia in her novel, she needed the warmth of her home country to blossom her revolution. Rita Indiana y Los Misterios blossoms on an age where music is more contextual to its media than to its locality. The sounds in El Juidero are the crowning pieces of ‘La Montra.’ We can’t put a definition to this music, but for the moment, let’s call it Musica Dominicana with universal eye. The title track “El Juidero” is juggernaut, a truly unstoppable scary force, it’s a horrific depiction of justice negotiated “a lo Jack Veneno.” Think of Omega and Eryka Badu as Bonnie & Clyde, “ni con bengay se mejora.”
Perez Hilton gave “La Hora de Volve” a big promotional boost; the song is by far, your best ticket to El Juidero. This is a sister song to Café Tacvba’s “La Negrita”, about that defining moment in the life of immigrants; time to return home, “al embrujo inconfundible de su sol.” Chasing a better life in foreign fields takes a lot of balls, “Te la buscaste como todo un leon, hiciste tanta fuerza que hoy te queda un cuarto de cojon.” Although it’s still one of the best tracks in the album, this final album version misses some of that outer space magic. This is not the case for the remarkable final cut of “El Blue del Ping Pong.” Beneath the catchy “undarundeiro,” hides a roaring rock song that’s finally embellished in harmony to the back-and-forth swing of the sport (and sex), yes, very much like Lil’ Wayne’s “Lollipop.”
Every hipster listening to Vampire Weekend should feel fooled after listening to “Da Pa Lo Do,” this is bona fide tropical bravura. This is Rita’s most heartrending moment in the album. The story of two motherless brothers sharing a small bite of food and singing “Da Pa Lo Do” brought me to tears. The kinetic powers of the lyrics are sustained by a strong muscle of drums and electronic pastiche, adding up to a song that transcends all walls of global pop. “Pasame a Buca” shows there’s not an ounce of conservatism on Rita’s mind, she’s fearless. The song is a mystical piece structured on collision; it adds volume and boldness on a frame-by-frame procedure. This is also why she succeeds to cover Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams”, avoiding cheesiness to rather, show plenty of personality, “Dulces sueños tan hechos de to’, quien soy yo pa’ decir que no… todo el mundo ‘ta buscando algo.”
Only time will let us know, but “Flores de Fuego” has the potential to become Rita’s most significant song yet. It is the harvest of instrumental beauty in full sync to lyricism. Once you’re submerged into the haunting beauty of the song, you’ll have trouble acknowledging it as a song; it’s a painting, a poem, it’s Rita at its finest. Make sure to stick around for “Equeibol”, it’s 15 minutes long! Already a household name in the Dominican Republic, the faith of Rita Indiana y Los Misterios only points to out-of-proportion recognition. El Juidero is a monumental debut, one of the best albums in many years (up there with Esquemas Juveniles and Mena). Watch out for Rita Indiana, she’s on her way to becoming a legend, "yo le pregunte a Hector Lavoe, el me dijo Rita dale con to', que aunque tu vea esa malla tan alta, tu tienes los ancos pa' saltarla." Generation Y, meet one of your icons, your tropical diva.