Kianí Medina is a Puerto Rican singer known for her work on many of the wonderful fusions coming off the island now. The singer for Residente (Calle 13), El Laberinto del Coco and Lado Ve, is going solo as Kianí. She releases her first single and video, “Si tú supieras” (If You Only Knew) on all streaming platforms on Friday, July 1, 2022. YouTube Kianí
#kianí #sitúsupieras #ángelamaríadávila
Si tú supieras
We are waiting to hear the song like everyone else, but there is a teaser on her Instagram @kianimedina
The teaser video was shot at Hacienda La Esperanza in Manatí, Puerto Rico. There is a hopeful message in that. And without water there is no life, and it is from her own water, that a woman gives birth.
The title can be taken many different ways, but the record cover shows three women in full blue veils. You want to know who’s behind those veils, but it’s hard to see. Even if you could see, it might be hard to understand what made those women who they are.
“Si tú supieras” is a song by the great Puerto Rican poet Ángela María Dávila. Her poems have a lush sensuality about them that recalls the Chilean Neruda’s early work, but is very Puerto Rican. Dávila’s poetry is famous in Puerto Rico and the Diaspora, but not many people know her music.
Kianí told New York Latin Culture Magazine, “I’ve been wanting to release material as a solo artist for a long time and I’m very excited to finally be able to do it with a song by such an important figure as Ángela. It is a real honor for me”.
A few years ago, the poet’s son Aurelio “Yeyo” Lima Dávila gave Kianí a cassette of Ángela María singing live at performances and singing to herself at home. Kianí knew Dávila’s writing, but hearing the poet speak added another dimension. Home is where the heart is, and a Puerto Rican woman has a big heart. Es el corazón Boricua. That’s important because women are the guardians of culture.
Kianí said, “Si tú supieras combines the raw and vulnerable with surrealism and beautiful simplicity, from a woman’s perspective. It’s mysterious and intriguing, as the woman with the blue veils. All these elements are very characteristic of Angela’s poetry. I wanted to pay tribute to that and portray it in the video.“
The song is arranged by Kianí, Fabían Wilkins and Javi Pérez with Pérez on guitars, Daniel Lopresti on keyboards, Josué Deprat on bass and Tony Escapa on drums. It was recorded at Playbach Studio by producer Fabián Wilkins and recording engineer Carlitos Velázquez. @fabianwilkins @kingjavius @grahamcrackerl @tutunpa
The video is directed by Mariana Roca with contemporary dance group La Trinchera which is Marili Pizarro, Beatriz Irizarry and Cristina Lugo. @la.trinchera.danza
PS: The blue is the indigo cloth of Mother Africa. Kianí fills the song with clave, the African Diaspora rhythm that unites the Latin peoples.
It’s hard to label Kianí because in a very Puerto Rican way, she blends many traditions. She is known for flowing with just about any kind of music. You can hear her singing Rap, Alternative, Jazz and straight-ahead Bomba.
Musical talent runs in families. Kids start listening to music from birth and grow up surrounded by it, so they get something that most of us don’t have. Kíani is the daughter of trumpeter and singer Jerry Medina who is known for his work as one of the founders of Batacumbele in the 1980s. That was an important band in Puerto Rico.
Batacumbele is to contemporary Puerto Rican music as Irakere (Chucho Valdés and Paquito D’Rivera) and Los Van Van (Juan Formell and family) are to contemporary Cuban music. In the States, Blues, Jazz and Rock were all created by the Diaspora after the African drum was prohibited.
These artists represent the reintegration of African Diaspora traditions with R&B, Jazz and Rock. In Cuba this became Timba, contemporary Cuban music. In Puerto Rico it is the source of all these rich fusions coming off the island.
Kianí started her career at just 16, singing with pianist Luis Marín and trombonist William Cepeda. Cepeda is another important Puerto Rican artist who is highly respected for bringing Afro-Puerto Rican traditions out into the world.
The young singer continued her career with Cultura Profética and Viento de Agua. We know her from El Laberinto del Coco, the Bomba Fusion project of Héctor “Coco” Barez who was Calle 13’s longtime percussionist. Kianí is one of the Laberinto singers who we call “Las Musas” (the Muses) because they are so inspiring. They’re up front, so sometimes they steal the show.
The dancers in the “Si tú supieras” video remind us of the Greek muses, the inspirational goddesses of literature, science and the arts.
Ángela María Dávila
Dávila (1944-2003) is known for her poems about love, relationships and being a Black Puerto Rican woman.
She is one of the “Generación del 60” group of Puerto Rican poets from a time of great change both in Puerto Rico and the world.
The 1960s were a time when young people around the world (including women and people of color) began to demand equal rights and to choose their own lifestyles. It was a time of great change and change is hard, but it also inspires great creativity.
We may be entering another period of great change, so Kianí’s music may be arriving at just the right time.
By Keith Widyolar
July 1, 2022