Latin Music Takes Over Coachella 2023 with Bad Bunny Leading the Pack
At Coachella 2023, Latin music dominated the festivities, both in terms of artistry and in popular buzz. Reggaeton and Latin trap star Bad Bunny became the first Latino and Spanish-speaking headliner at the annual desert party and was joined by a host of other Latin artists, including Rosalía, Becky G, Kali Uchis, ¿Téo?, and DannyLux.
Bad Bunny breaks new ground
Bad Bunny was fully aware of how groundbreaking his performance on Friday night would be. He opened his two-hour set with a video showing the names of past Coachella headliners, all heroes of English-language pop, hip-hop, and rock, with Spanish narration offering important background. Once the video arrived at the current festival lineup, Bad Bunny finally appeared, clad in a puffy yellow parka, high up atop a massive box-like structure. He segued directly into 2022’s Billboard Top 5 hit “Tití Me Preguntó,” the crowd eagerly joining in and singing along. Bunny performed almost the entire show in Spanish, interspersing raucous crowd-pleasers like “Safaera” and “Callaita” with thoughtful interludes where he spoke about the importance of reggaeton and Caribbean music.
A few songs into his set, Bunny asked the crowd whether he should continue in Spanish or swerve into English. The masses called out for Spanish, well aware the singer prefers his mother tongue, and the Puerto Rican singer gladly obliged. The raucous applause he received in return further validated his conviction that Spanish broadens his audience in many ways.
Rosalía delivers an emotional set
Spanish sensation Rosalía had the crowd in the palm of her hand on Saturday night with a charismatic performance that ranged from piano-playing ballads to booming dance tunes. During the emotional “Diablo,” she put the mic in front of a member of the audience, who sang out the next verse right on cue. But it was when Rosalía’s fiancé, Puerto Rican reggaeton star Rauw Alejandro, joined her on stage that the show really took off.
They strode around the stage together, eyes locked on each other as they sang “Vampiros” and “Beso,” the crowd cheering when they finally embraced with a kiss. You got the sense this wasn’t the last time we’d see them together on stage.
Becky G draws on her heritage
Born in nearby Inglewood, California to a Mexican immigrant family, Becky G‘s electric performance leaned into her heritage, with guest stars like banda-mariachi four-piece Marca MP, Fuerza Régida lead singer Jesús Ortiz Paz, and Mexican rapper Peso Pluma. Even the set called back to Mexico, with brightly colored panels inspired by the designs of famed Mexican architect Luis Barragán. And on the second weekend, she even included a medley of songs from renowned Tejano singer Selena as a tribute.
The crowd went wild for it all, and when Becky G closed her show with a performance of her first hit, “Shower,” she had to pause a moment to take it all in. Not only had she conquered Coachella, but she did it her way, celebrating her people and culture.
Kali Uchis shines with high-energy collabs
R&B singer Kali Uchis took the stage on Sunday evening as the sun began to set for a scorching set featuring favorites “Dead to Me,” “I Wish You Roses,” and “Fantasy,” which brought out her partner Don Toliver to guest star. Also making guest appearances were frequent collaborators Tyler, the Creator, and Omar Apollo.
Uchis’s new hit “Worth the Wait” made its live debut, and Uchis switched easily between Spanish and English, showing how she effortlessly straddles two cultures and, in doing so, helps bring them closer together. The crowd’s rowdy approval was proof of the progress made.
¿Téo? gets the crowd hyped
Emerging singer-songwriter and rapper ¿Téo? took over the Gobi tent on Friday afternoon. Even without a primetime slot, the one-time Disney TV star managed to pack the venue, getting the weekend off in south-of-the-border style with his unique blend of bossa nova, rap, and rock. Dressed in a white polo-style shirt and white shorts, the performer looked relaxed and in command. And his smoothly-delivered high-energy raps on songs like “Duro” got the excited crowd pumped and singing along, an impressive feat for a relatively new artist.
Actor Jaden Smith joined ¿Téo? on stage for a performance of their 2018 collaboration, “Uno Dos,” which got the crowd even more hyped.
DannyLux brings a new spin to folk
Palm Springs local DannyLux made his Coachella debut on Friday, taking over a crowded Sonora tent for songs like “Jugaste y Sufrí” and “Mi Otra Mitad.” With an acoustic guitar strapped over his shoulder and his band at his side, the 19-year-old Mexican-American “alternative serrieño” singer-songwriter shared his love of the Mexican folk music style with a southern California crowd that definitely ate it up.
Watching a teenage performer making his first Coachella appearance with all the lighters lit up amidst the crowd was impressive. Just a further testament to his burgeoning talent and the effect it was already having on the public.
Too Much is Never Enough
The Latin music takeover didn’t stop there. Argentinian ska band Los Fabulosos Cadillacs blew up the roof, so to speak, of the Outdoor Stage on Sunday, while Puerto Rican rapper Eladio Carrión took the stage Saturday in the Gobi tent for his special mix of reggaeton and Latin trap. And while Latin artists may have grabbed the spotlight this year, there were artists from a mix of genres and styles that all shone brightly. Read about other artists who stole the show so you know who to watch out for next year.
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