Thursday, February 10, 2011

Straight Mexican singer releases gay-themed album

The stunt isn't new.  There has been more than a few heterosexual singers who have sang about gay love or dedicated a song to their gay fans.

The most recent example I can remember is Keisha saying somewhat nonsensically that her recent single "We R Who We R" is about bullied gay teens (er, huh?).

The practice is also surprisingly prevalent in Latin America, particularly with formerly popular singers on the declining end of their careers who know their gay fans are among the most devoted, as well as the most willing to still buy their albums or live show tickets.

Granada Entertainment, for example, has made a big business out of handling appearances by many of these former pop idols at different Latino gay bar venues throughout the United States. Which is all good. I mean, if it works for Kylie Minogue, why shouldn't it work for others?

This week brought the latest two examples...

Pimpinela: Huge in the 1980's, Argentinean duo Pimpinela were known for overly-dramatic, incredibly cheesy call-and-response songs depicting lovers in crisis. Usually, the scenario was that of a woman cheated upon angrily telling her husband off - and the husband asking for forgiveness - as in "Olvidame y Pega Vuelta" (they also turn the tables sometimes as in "Ese Estupido Que Llama").

And here is the kicker: The duo that makes up Pimpinela are actually a sister and a brother.  Which seems icky enough but didn't seem to hurt them at all back on their heyday.

Jump 25 years later and - who knew? - Pimpinela are still around! They are also dedicating a remix of one of their songs to the gays, allowing fans to download it for free from their official site.

Joaquín Galán, the lead male singer, says: "I wrote the original song ['Primero Yo'] thinking about the modern couple, in which I feel the woman is the great protagonist of change and men are only discrete companions.  The remix ['Tengo Derecho a Ser Feliz'] is more open, it's a chant to freedom, to self-determination, and the spark, perhaps, was the approval of equal rights for homosexuals in Argentina".

The remix has a vague Erasure-ish beat to it. No, it doesn't make it any better or less cringe-worthy than it actually is.

Gualberto Castro: What kind of name is Gualberto? And, perhaps more importantly, Gualberto who?

Well, after today, that really won't matter because Gualberto Castro has made history: As far as I am aware, the 60+ year old Mexican singer is the only straight performer to release a full album of gay-related songs since music was invented!

From my spotty research, Gualberto shot to the top of the charts in 1973 when he won the OTI international music festival with "La Felicidad". Yes. 1973.

On Tuesday, Gualberto came back full-force: Speaking to Mexican paper La Jornada, the singer said he was about to release a 12-track album called "Coming Out of the Closet" in which he says he interprets "beautiful songs that dignify the gays".

Gualberto to La Jornada:
The concept of the album came to me because the issue of homosexuality is very polemic nowadays.  There are advances; for many it's normal to see two persons of the same gender hugging and kissing each other, which did not happen many years ago. They have been attacked a lot and issues have been raised about their right to adopt of get married; that's why this record is a gift and a tribute to gays and lesbians.

I am heterosexual but I recognize and support their rights.  It's an aberration that they should be attacked; society should accept homosexuality as normal, because they are born with that preference, they do not ask to have it. Simply said, that's it. Homosexuality is a part of being human. There we have Ricky Martin, who revealed he was homosexual to the point he felt liberated, and, just like him, there are many others.
I have no idea what the album sounds like or whether it's any good. But there is one thing for certain: Gualberto, who now makes a living in Las Vegas, says that he will be receiving a placard at the Walk of Stars just outside the MGM Hotel, at a ceremony to be held on February 24th in honor of his contribution to the music industry.

As for those of you who doubt whether Gualberto has kept up with the times: The hottest thing in Mexican music is narco-corridas and norteñas which play up the macho factor as well as the drug trade violence that has unfortunately taken over areas of the country.  Surprisingly, it might have been exactly the type of music where Gualberto might have found the inspiration to sing about the gays.

Don't believe me? Go straight to the following jaw-dropping NSFW video for Gualberto Castro's "Tengo a las Dos":

Toupée or no toupée, there are simply no words to describe the wrongness and fabulousness of this clip. I hope his new album is just as classy.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a way to reinvent himself (Gualberto)!
I would keep my hair more natural though :S

Maegan la Mala said...

Ay no se, I would have liked it mejor if Gualberto would have fallen in love with the man his wife was having an affair with. That would be big, pero I guess I don't see how this is different from the fantasies of many straight men. I mean it's pretty much a teta and culo show.

lorenzo herrera y lozano said...

Well now I have to order the album. Especially since the video seems to only pander to straight men's obsession with girl-on-girl sex and fantasy of having both of them. (something many queer women friends have complained about, particularly femme couples)

lorenzo herrera y lozano said...

P.S. How dare you call Pimpinela overly-dramatic. The nerve. I was raised on Pimpniela. When have you seen me be over dramatic?!

HablaCausa said...

I heard tell of Pimpinela while listening to megaromantica on iTunes a couple of months ago... they def qualify as major cheese but i found their song ESE HOMBRE rather infectious... I thought there were Spaniards b/c of how they pronounce some words... anyway, I did a search and found a salsa version of that song by Brenda Starr, not bad

Jonsey said...

Gualberto is a very fine singer, unfortunately for him; he has always had bad management & has made very poor decisions about his career & life. The "girl on girl" video is way over the top for Mexican audiences, & now the gay album that is again over the top for Mexican audiences, I don't get it why he's into these polarized sexual subjects? Why is it so important for Gualberto to focus on these "in your pants" themes at this time in his life (he's 76 yrs old)? Perhaps, he is "exposing" himself publicly, getting off like an old voyeur? Who knows? But, the bottom line is straight, gay, celibate, love & peace is the motivating factor of most humans of any age. The question is how one defines love? The answer: Very personally. For Gualberto, it seems, love is very public.