LOS ANGELES (AP) — Colombian superstars Carlos Vives and Juanes have officially collaborated for the first time to remake the Carlos Huertas’ vallenato classic, “Las Mujeres.”
Vives originally covered the song in 2009 on the sequel to his breakthrough album, 1993’s “Clásicos de la Provincia” — both gorgeous collections of vallenato standards amped up with the Grammy-award winner’s idiosyncratic pop flair.
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first installment — and Vives’ dedication to modernizing classic Colombian sounds — he teamed up with Juanes, the rockstar and fellow countryman who’s known for the same kind of sonic innovation. Their take on “Las Mujeres” evolves the sound and music video for a 2023 audience.
Vives views it as an opportunity to bring three generations of Colombian performers together: Huertas, himself, and Juanes.
“I feel connected to my Colombian ancestors through music, but a new generation has also arrived. It’s as if our Colombian music stopped being part of a museum to become a part of reality. Contemporary, with new sounds and with new energy,” says Vives. “And that, for me, is what Juanes represents as a part of the new Colombian sound. Juanes arrived on the scene to innovate.”
It goes both ways. Thirty years ago, Juanes saw Vives in concert several times, but recalls one particularly moving performance in Medellín around “Clásicos de la Provincia.” “I experienced how he was able to mix the element of folklore with rock, with pop, and make it universal while still feeling local. That was like a revelation, it was a great inspiration for me,” he says.
They attempted to record a cover of “Las Mujeres” together a few years back, but the timing didn’t work out. But it was always going to happen. “One day, when we were making the music video, I said… ‘I had to do this song with you before I die, because this had to happen, and it gives me a lot of joy to finally be able to be on a song with Carlos,” says Juanes.
The music video for the remake also feels particularly modern, showcasing women of various ages, ethnicities, and professions — a celebratory image of the diversity present in Latin America and across the globe. For Vives and Juanes, it doubles as a message of progress for Colombia.
“We should have overcome and understood a long time ago everything we are. The beauty of our diversity, of our races, of our mestizaje,” says Vives. “Music shows us everything we are, how we mix, the importance of our pre-Hispanic, American, and indigenous culture, the importance of our Spanish blood in our music, in our wisdom… the importance of our African, Syrian and Lebanese history.”
“Colombia is insanely diverse, not only in its geography, but throughout our history,” he says. “Women are a part of all that.” And in “Las Mujeres,” they are at the center.