After a tedious casting process, more like emailing MTV Latin America back and forth with my information, I was lucky enough to be part of the audience for the MTV Unplugged for Juanes that took place last Wednesday, February 1st, at the New World Symphony Center of the Arts in Miami Beach, FL. In case you have no clue who Juanes is: he is one of the most prominent Latino singers worldwide, 15 million albums sold, he has won 17 Latin Grammy Awards, 1 Grammy Award and has been recognized widely for his humanitarian work. After five succesful albums, here he comes with his Unplugged album due later this year with the production of another great Latino artist, Juan Luis Guerra. He reached international fame with his single “La Camisa Negra“, and now with different musical arrangements for his biggest hits plus some new singles, Juanes is set to release his most ambiguous and challenging album yet.
Juanes biggest hit “La Camisa Negra”
For the Unplugged concert, Juanes was accompanied by a live orchestra and musicians like saxophonist Ed Calle and guitarist Fernando Tobon. Later in the concert Juanes also had the help of the University of Miami’s chorus. But beyond the musicians, what was really magical was the warmth of the audience, I don’t lie when I say that literally everybody was singing along the songs, you could tell that by the audience being much smaller (around 300 people) people felt a connection with the singer and his true voice was exposed to us. This was the first time Juanes had done an acoustic album, let alone an acoustic performance and this proved me what a good singer he is.
Throughout the show, the MTV production team was very supportive of the audience singing along and even Juanes himself said at one point “MTV, can I please hug all of them?” to show his gratitude towards his fans. From the moment the Unplugged concert started with Juanes first solo hit “Fijate Bien“, I could notice a more tropical touch to the songs, you could easily percieve Juan Luis Guerra’s arrangements for the sound, and let me tell you it was very pleasant and a nice twist to Juanes’ usual rock sound. During the show Juanes said “I’ve never heard my music like this before; thank you, Juan Luis”, instruments like violins, piano, bass, ukulele, trombone, trumpet and banjo were all used during the performance. Both Juanes and Juan Luis co-wrote two new songs “Todo En Mi Vida Eres Tu” and “El Amor Es La Señal”
Juanes MTV Unplugged Preview (Courtesy of Tres: MTV, Música y Mas)
The special guests of the night were Brazilian singer Paula Fernandes with whom Juanes performed “Hoy Me Voy“, which is both in Portuguese and Spanish, and Juanes also performed Spanish music legend Joaquin Sabina the song “Azul“. However, the highlight of the show was the closing song, “Odio Por Amor” in which Juan Luis Guerra came up on stage to direct the band and the UM’s chorus to which the whole audience stood up and sang along the lyrics. We all gave Juanes a standing ovation because after seeing him perform the way he did at the Unplugged, there is no doubt that he is one of the best Latino artists out there.
Here’s the full tracklist of the Unplugged:
1. FÍJATE BIEN
2. LA PAGA
3. NADA VALGO SIN TU AMOR
4. ES POR TÍ
5. TODO EN MI VIDA ERES TÚ (Inédita)
6. A DIOS LE PIDO
7. HOY ME VOY FEAT. PAULA FERNÁNDES
8. VOLVERTE A VER
9. LA CAMISA NEGRA
10. AZUL FEAT. JOAQUÍN SABINA (Inédita)
11. PARA TU AMOR
12. EL AMOR ES LA SEÑAL (Inédita)
13. ME ENAMORA
14. ODIO POR AMOR
I cannot encourage you enough to support Juanes and MTV to buy the CD and DVD when it goes on sale because it is totally worth your money. As a Colombian, I couldn’t be more proud of having a true artist like Juanes and I couldn’t be more thankful of being part of the audience because that was by far one of the best performances I have seen live.