Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Why “Reggaetonica”?

I’ve been asked about this blog’s title.

It’s not so much that I am reggaetonic—although I do like that play on words—but that reggaeton is the “tonic” of our times.

“Tonic” as in “nota tónica” (tonic note):
1. Primera de la escala del tono en que está compuesto un trozo
2. The first note in a scale and the harmony built on this note

“Tonic” as in “sílaba tónica” (tonic syllable):
1. Que recibe el tono o acento
2. The syllable that has the main stress in a word

“Tonic” also as in:
1. Something that lifts the spirits or makes somebody feel better generally
2. A medicine that purports to make patients feel stronger, more energetic, and generally healthier

Gendering the word female in “reggaetonica” instead of using the implicitly masculine “reggaetonic” is also my homage to a group of young writers in the early 1990s in Puerto Rico that named ourselves Garabatas al Cruce in order to rant from the pages of Claridad newspaper. Even though we were a mixed group, we chose to gender our name female: Las Garabatas rather than Los Garabatos. We figured: Why not?

Gallego, a.k.a. Jose Raul Gonzalez—who later rose to fame as reggaeton’s Resident Poet—was part of it. So was Harry Hernandez, Carmen Oquendo Villar, Damaris Estrada and Rossana Vidal.

Much of Las Garabatas' initial motivation was our feeling that rap, reggae, graffiti and other art forms cultivated by our generation were being dismissed and shortchanged. Our name was indebted to a University of Puerto Rico professor who, during a lecture, called graffiti “garabatos en la pared” (scribbles on the wall). Our name was also an homage to proto-reggaeton artist Falo’s anthem “Pa’l Cruce.”

Reggaetonica, in turn, is indebted to Las Garabatas. Vuelvo a tirarme a pié.

No comments: