Funny, pointed, perfect. That pretty well wraps up the new song and video “Vivir Sin Ti” by Nancy Sanchez and David Villa of The Rumba Madre . A hilarious sendup of toxic masculinity (well, not quite toxic, more like absurd because it is so funny) . And it is great music.
A brilliant collaboration between Villa and Sanchez, it manages to deliver an important point in I a funny song and video that makes the point, but gently. The song was recorded at Villa’s home studio after he and Sanchez collaborated on the music , a mix of Mexican and Norteño forms with punk guitars, violins, and a Cuban tres. Villa wrote the script (adapted later by the director, Cabe Tejeda) for the video.
In the video Sanchez is minding her own business, playing a beautiful guitar, enjoying the moment, when she is accosted by a series of men in outlandish super masculine costumes (matador, Mexican cowboy, Lucha Libre wrester,) played by David Dia Diéguez, who is also credited with some of the musical roles. Nancy eventually convinces each supplicant that she doesn’t want or need him, deflating his ego and eventually reducing them to tears while watching her on television. A Spanish language take on the Beatles “I ‘ve Just Seen a Face” by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Villa and Sanchez have updated and repurposed it for today, delivering a message of female independence, but gently poking holes in male egos, but with a friendly smile that may just slide through the usual defenses and make an impression.
Underlying the song is the subject of “toxic masculinity” the socially regressive male traits that foster domination, the devaluation of women, and wanton violence. Sometimes referred to in the Hispanic culture as “macho”, it can range for annoying to deadly and is a phenomenon that women everywhere have to deal with, often daily.
Sanchez and Villa’s approach, while humorous, makes it clear that a firm “no”, both by individuals and by society in general is needed, along with letting men understand how ridiculous they look to the object of their affection (or annoyance, as the case may be). Sanchez and Villa have combined composition chops with strategic brilliance, to create a powerful message encased in a spoonful of musical sugar. It just might kick off some useful introspection. I hope they do an English version – gringos need sugar too!
The Rumba Madre mixes Iberic-American sounds and the irreverence of the 20th century avant-garde movement with contemporary styles such as punk and trap in this original project in which the experience of the Latinx community becomes paramount. Their first album, Prisiones Y Fugas released in 2020, blew me away and “Vivir Sin Ti” does the same.
Nancy Sanchez is a Mexican-American songwriter, performer and an award-winning vocalist, who, among other things, is a new voice in the world of ranchera music, providing a first-person, woman’s perspective within a historically male-dominated genre. Born in Toluca Mexico but raised in the United States, her music contains elements of Mexican Folkloric, Latin Alternative, Pop & Jazz. I reviewed her most recent full-length album, LA GRAN CIVILIZACIÓN, in May of 2020, calling it a “musical tour de force, unstoppable in any language”. In it she collaborates with Olmeca, Flor de Toloache, Madame Récamier, Las Colibri, Raymundo and Cuñao to create that tour de force..
“Vivir Sin Ti” is funny, pointed, perfect . A brilliant collaboration of brilliant artists to create a spoonful of musical sugar that makes the message go down.
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