Cuban duo garners support after collaborations

Photo courtesy of Planet Records Europe

Gente de Zona is a Cuban reggaetón music group which enjoys combining its chosen genre with a traditional Cuban musical style for a more unique sound. With this particular style, the music of Gente de Zona is usually upbeat and perfect for dancing.

One of their most recent recordings, featuring Marc Anthony, is “La Gozadera,” a fast-paced song about having a good time. This song won the Latin American Music Award for Favorite Tropical Song at the same time that the band itself won for Favorite Urban Duo or Group. Recently, “La Gozadera” has been nominated for 2016 Lo Nuestro Awards’ Video of the Year.

Gente de Zona was founded in La Habana, Cuba, in the year 2000 and has had several members since then. Alexander Delgado was the founder and has been with Gente de Zona for the band’s entire lifespan. Other members, at various times over the years, included Michael “El Karo” Delgado, Jacob Forever and Nando Pro. Currently, Randy Malcom Martinez completes the singing duo.

The band has only released three albums in its career in addition to a plethora of singles, focusing mainly on live performances where their energetic personality takes center stage instead of their musical talent, which is nothing to scoff at to begin with. Gente de Zona has also found that their talent lends itself to other artists’ songs quite well, having performed alongside legends Enrique Iglesias and Marc Anthony as well as many other musicians from around the world.

Even though the band has not released an album for several years, their most recent being “Oro: Lo Nuevo y Lo Mejor” which was released in April of 2012, their collaboration with Enrique Iglesias and Descemer Bueno for a 2014 song “Bailando,” which quickly became popular internationally, introduced Gente de Zona to the world outside of their normally limited audience. Since then, the band has been releasing singles and collaborations fairly often.

While most of this band’s music has lyrics in Spanish, non-Spanish speakers can still enjoy the background music of a few songs before realizing the similarity between them and becoming bored. For those who can understand the lyrics, most of the songs, with a few notable exceptions, tell a story or have a message, keeping the listener entertained enough to enjoy many songs without becoming annoyed at the similarity of the accompanying music.

One of those exceptions is the band’s 2014 single, “Yo Quiero,” which Gente de Zona performed with the American rapper Pitbull. This song is basically a lesson in conjugating enamorar (to enamor), querer (to want) and adorar (to adore) with the names of the artists thrown into the lyrics for no apparent reason thought it does have a catchy tune.

“Yo Quiero” is not, however, the only song of this band to include an arbitrarily shouted “Gente de Zona,” as this seems to be one of their favorite ways to pass time in their recorded songs instead of simply letting the music take the spotlight for a little while. Usually, this appears near the beginning of songs. While most bands try to impress listeners right from the beginning of their songs, leaving the endings to be bland if inspiration is in short supply, Gente de Zona counter-intuitively starts bland and eventually picks up to be good additions to the group’s works. This, of course, means that in order to appreciate this particular band’s music, one must listen to the entire song instead of just the opening.

While Gente de Zona has been popular in La Habana for over a decade, their audience is growing rapidly, and for a band not reliant on albums, they are rapidly expanding their popularity to include a wide range of countries.