Latinx Film and Media

El Cantante + “Nothing Connect Us All But Imagined Sounds” (Part II)

In the second part of the essay, Valentín-Escobar discusses the cultural significance of how salsa singer Héctor Lavoe, is remembered and celebrated at his funeral. Despite Lavoe being known for his salsa music, efforts are being made to recognize him as part of the traditional Puerto Rican music genre, plena. This recognition is significant because it is seen as a way to reclaim Lavoe as an authentic Puerto Rican figure, particularly from Ponce, his hometown.

Some consider plena to be the authentic music of Puerto Rico, and associating Lavoe with this genre is a way of asserting his Puerto Rican identity. Valentín-Escobar suggests that this recognition of Lavoe as a plenero is not literally about music but more so about memory and identity. It also highlights how Lavoe, through his performances, blended different musical genres, including plena, into his salsa music.

Additionally, Valentín-Escobar discusses how Lavoe’s commemoration is about remembering him as a cultural hero and negotiating his significance (and body) across different Puerto Rican and Latin American communities and locations. The essay touches on the idea that music and memory can serve as a form of agency, allowing communities to assert their identity fluidly and evocating new cultural narratives.

Presentation(s)

Ortega,Yanelsa

Payano,Migdalia

Guaman,Danny Steve

.How does the film challenge Héctor Lavoe’s identity by centering the diasporic communities he navigated?

.The director Leon Ichaso and stars Marc Anthony and Jennifer López shape Lavoe’s music and legacy for XXI century audiences. What aspects of his story interested them the most? How do they want to remember him?

.How do controversies surrounding Lavoe’s personal life, as depicted in the film, highlight the complexities of locality, nationalism, and diasporic memory?