In the not-so-distant future, when internet culture crushes humanity under the weight of deadpan hipster irony and belligerent comment sections, one man will stand above the fray, shouting “One love!” until the bitter end.
That person, perhaps one of the few in our world still left unscathed by cynicism, is Locos Por Juana’s Itawe Correa.
Correa is the type of guy who uses the words “vibes” and “energy” frequently in conversation and the word “love” about 20 times per minute. It is these sentiments that bleed into Locos Por Juana’s music, making the songs a welcome respite from an increasingly fractured world marred by tragedy after tragedy.
“We are messengers for a conscious party,” he says. “I think as musicians, sometimes we don't know the power that we have for healing. Before you leave the concert, we want to leave you with something positive — with good energy.”
Locos' latest single, “The Cure,” featuring reggae artist Collie Buddz, could be track one on the conscious party playlist. “Yes, we found the cure for the world tonight,” Correa sings, “We making music to feel alright.”
Reggae is just one of the many sounds in the Grammy-nominated band’s repertoire. They also play Cumbia, the music of Colombia, where most Locos members — or their parents — were born.
This Saturday the band will play Miami's MegaRumba Colombia, a festival celebrating the independence Colombia won back in 1810.
Though the festival celebrates Colombian independence, Correa wants the public to know that everyone’s invited. “Cuban, Colombian, Puerto Rican, Dominican — we want to celebrate their independence too,” he says. “That's the thing with us. We don't want people to get separated. We want communities to come along together, because when we work in community and [do] not separate ourselves, our community and our city grows more and it gives us more.”
As Locos Por Juana consists of immigrants and the children of immigrants, Correa speaks passionately about his frustrations with the divisiveness of the current political climate, but the optimist in him prevails. It's an optimism informed by his experiences touring around the world with his band.
“Miami’s home. But I think the most important thing is always playing outside Miami, because it's a challenge,” he says. “Especially when we go to a new place. Three weeks ago we played in Charleston, West Virginia. This is the first time that a Latin band was playing there, and we had about 4,000 people. The crowd was more American than Latin, but they loved it. They love the energy.
“I think right now we're in a time [when] language is not so much of a barrier anymore, like back in the days when Shakira and all these Spanish artists needed to learn English” to cross over into the mainstream American market, Correa says.
He mentions the band's upcoming collaboration with Coors Light as an example of this cultural shift. “It’s an American campaign, and we're singing in Spanish."
Along with the ad campaign, Locos Por Juana is keeping busy with a tight touring schedule in support of the band's forthcoming album, Caribe, which is expected to arrive in late August.
The band returned from a tour in Colombia just a few days ago, but they will be heading back to Barranquilla at the beginning of August to film the music video for their new single, “Se Fue la Luz.”
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While Locos continues building bridges across cultures with its music, Correa reflects on the band’s Miami origins as intrinsically related to his mission of unifying.
“Locos Por Juana could only have been born in Miami, because we've got a little bit of everything. We’ve got a little bit of Cuban, a little bit of Haitian, a little bit Dominican, Colombian, and the most important — we’ve got a lot of Miami. It sounds like Miami.”
MegaRumba Colombia with Locos Por Juana, Grupo Niche, Reykon l el Lider, and others. Noon Saturday, July 16, at Tamiami Park, 11201 Coral Way, Miami; 305-461-2700; megarumbacolombia.com. Tickets cost $10 to $150 plus fees via megarumbacolombia.com.