The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music’s Tiny Desk (Home) Concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and around the world. It’s the same spirit – stripped down decor, an intimate setting – just a different space.
“Mi padre dice asustado / Que me salga de su lado / ‘Ellos son marijuanos'” (“My father warned me / That I shouldn’t hang around with y’all / ‘They’re a bunch of potheads'”) Los Rivera Destino sings in the song “Mis Amigos”. “Pero son mis hermanos / Y los quiero asi!” (“That might be true, but I still love those potheads!”)
tongue in cheek ode to pasto (marijuana) on the classic bolero of the Latin genre perfectly illustrates how the Puerto Rican group Los Rivera Destino not only offers impeccable musicianship and a reverential embrace of nostalgia, but also a lot of humor.
All of this is on full display in his Tiny Desk (house) concert recorded in his hometown of San Juan, Puerto Rico. College friends Carlos Figueroa, Fernando Tarrazo, and Antonio Sánchez began making satirical YouTube videos about Puerto Rican politics. But as music became part of their schtick, they broke out as recording artists with a slowed-down bolero version of the reggaeton classic “Te Boté.” The next thing they knew was that megastar Bad Bunny wanted to record with them.
The musical trajectory of the group now finds the three friends seated behind their “desk” for a performance that is both serious and circus on three tracks. Los Rivera Destino’s clever pun dominates the opening track, “Edgar Allan Poe,” before launching into a bolero-tinged, bossa nova-tinged live version of “Castigo.” Originally recorded with the band company (close friend) Pedro Capó, it’s played here with a four-piece band that displays the kind of musical versatility that seems commonplace in Puerto Rico.
“Mis Amigos” is a wildly funny ode to smoking weed. If you don’t speak Spanish, pay close attention to the translated lyrics, which do a great job interpreting both the sense and the humor of these incredibly talented comedy writers. The final song, “Pancakes,” a loving homage to pasty breakfast food, concludes this visual and lyrical treat of a performance by a band that has carved out a singular place for itself in Latin music.
LIST OF SETTINGS
- Edgar Allan Poe
- “My Amigos”
- Fernando Tarrazo: bongos, guitar, vocals
- Antonio Sánchez: shaker, vocals
- Carlos Figueroa: vocals
- Hiram Molina: Puerto Rican cuatro, bass, keyboards, vocals
- Diego López: keyboards, sampler, vocals
- David Díaz: bass, guitar, vocals
- Bennett Service: battery
- Jomar Figueroa: whistle, vocals
- Producer: Guri Bellaflores
- Director: Cesar Berrios
SMALL OFFICE TEAM
- Producer: Felix Contreras, Anamaria Sayre
- Video producer: Kara Frame
- Audio mastering: Josh Rogosin
- Small production team: Bob Boilen, Bobby Carter, Joshua Bryant, Maia Stern, Ashley Pointer
- Executive Producer: Keith Jenkins
- Senior Vice President, Programming: Anya Grundmann