The woman drips charisma. And skill. And charm. Unlike her bouncing-off-the-walls energetic label mates Tres Coronas who performed right before she did, La Sista—though also full of energy—was effortlessly powerful, grounded and contained.
Her set was well chosen. She opened with the laid-back and sandungueosa “Anacaona” (the single with the video set in her hometown of Loíza). Then she went into her hilarious “Acabones de la Letra,” where the rookie irreverently makes fun of simple-minded reggaeton lyricists. Then came the (unfortunately and uncharacteristically out-of-tune) “Fruity Loops,” followed by the reggaeton/bomba fusion “Calabó y Bamboo” with its contagious hook: “No u'a coge' más un mapo/ Ya yo encampané la escoba/ Mejor búscate a otra/Que te lave bien la ropa.” (“I'm not gonna grab a mop any more/I already packed away the broom/You'd better find another woman/To wash your clothes.”) (Click here to listen to the song.) Then she went into “Rulé Candela,” a hot reggaeton track based on a traditional bomba song. (The woman can SING!) “Machúcalo”—her bachataish ode to cheating men—came next, followed by an homage to her spiritual mother “Yemayá.” Last was my favorite, “This Is My Game,” heavy on the boasting, solid on the hip hop beats.
And a random observation: Considering the weird lack of sexiness and professionalism displayed by the booty-shaking “Machete girls” that accompanied Tres Coronas for all of one song, I was struck by the playful and refreshing sensuality of La Sista’s sidekick Nandi. Throughout La Sista’s set, Nandi was her skillfull right hand man in delivering rhymes and singing. La Sista, undoubtedly the boss, at one point started singing acapella commands to Nandi to move his “batea” as she watched appreciatingly and many in the audience sighed and overheated. What got my attention was that Nandi the sexpot, was also Nandi the fierce lyricsman and singer, and he was also Nandi the indispensable second-in-command—unlike the anonymous and utterly replaceable Machete girls. (No grand conclusions from any of this yet. Well, maybe just one preliminary conclusion: Regardless of how much clothes you’re wearing, carrying yourself in a dignified manner IS key to sexy. It also greatly helps if the folks you’re working with treat you in a dignified manner.)
As I’m looking forward to her next NY live show, La Sista I’m sure will keep the "topo yiyos sudando frío."
(La Sista and a fan. Photo by Marcos Miranda.)