Juan Luis Guerra released a live concert DVD/CD and to celebrate, the Grammy Award winner held a special viewing party at SoHo Beach House in Miami Beach.
The 80-minute production was shot during his “ASONDEGUERRA” Tour at the Olympic Stadium in his native Dominican Republic in front of more than 50,000 people. Guest collaborators Juanes and Romeo Santos make a special appearance on DVD where they performed fan favorites “La Calle” and “Frio Frio” respectively.
Latin Beat spoke to Guerra about his first-ever live version release of his biggest hits with his band 4.40, his fruitful career, and his advice to young and up-and-coming talent.
How did this project come together and what can fans expect?
"This is the first time we put together a live DVD/CD combo together, and even though we were bombarded with rain, we included all the best moments from the concert. There is a mix of our classic hits that fans will recognize, as well as some new ones. “
“It was an honor to work with Juanes. He has always been one of our biggest supporters so all it took was one phone call to put together our collaboration. It worked similarly with Romeo Santos. What you see of our performances on the DVD is very special.”
Your career spans nearly three decades. What is your secret to creating timeless hits?
“Those of us in the Dominican Republic have been blessed to have music, like merengue and bachata, that encourages people to dance. No matter what the message of a particular song may be, our music evokes the sentiment of happiness in people. It’s also very important to me that the message in my songs is always positive and the sound upbeat.”
“To me, every cd is my legacy. I don’t make music because I have a need to or because I owe a label. I create music to leave behind as my legacy, as a gift to my children. For each cd I work my hardest to make sure that it’s perfect and that it receives all the love that I have to give.”
Would you say that you are content with the way your career has turned out?
“Definitely. I always wanted to form a group from the first moment I returned home from studying in Boston. It was never my plan specifically to work with merengue, bachata, and salsa; I wanted to be a jazz guitarist. But upon my return to the Dominican Republic, I realized that I was being led somewhere different. There was an opportunity to start working with merengue and after that, doors started opening.
The way things turned out wasn't planned. My path began to reveal itself little by little all on its own. And I'm not done yet! The best is yet to come.”
When you were in Boston you studied at Berklee College of Music. How did that impact your life?
"I attended Berklee in 1979 and I learned things that I couldn't have ever imagined. I learned so much about jazz and how I could apply it to Latin music. My attendance there made a huge impact in my career and it continues to do so. Anytime I can mix merengue with jazz, gospel, or reggae, it’s thanks to what I learned at Berklee.”
What advice would you give to up-and-coming talent?
"My advice would be to research their culture and its folklore. It was one of the principle things that we did and it helped us a lot.”