Reyna Tropical finds joy amid adversity in a charged NON-COMM set - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
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Reyna Tropical made her XPN debut on night two of NON-COMM in black boots, a Canadian tuxedo and trademark black cowboy hat. Hips swaying and gritos ululating, singer-guitarist Fabi Reyna and percussionist Ney Mapalo stuck to the band’s original motto: “Queer Love & Afro-Mexico.”

The band opened with a few songs from their newest album, Malegría — a portmanteau combining mal, or “bad” and alegría, or “joy.” Though the songs translated can be sad, Reyna’s performance was upbeat and energized, flirting with her audience, swaying to the beat and taking off her jacket during “Suavecito.” Malegría is the first solo album from Reyna Tropical, a former duo.

Founded by Reyna and Nectali “Sumo” Díaz, Reyna Tropical dropped their self-titled debut in 2018. Reyna was working on She Shreds Media, a platform dedicated to amplifying female and nonbinary guitarists and bassists, and met Sumo at a workshop. Their sound was a unique mix of Mexican and African beats, an homage to their ancestors as immigrants to the US. After touring both North and South America, including a stop at South By Southwest, Reyna Tropical released their sophomore album Sol y Lluvia in 2019. Díaz mixed beats and sourced samples, while Reyna played guitar and sang. After Díaz’s sudden passing in 2022, Reyna Tropical released “Ya Va Pasar,” or “It will pass,” using a beat he created.

When Reyna Tropical played “Ya Va Pasar” on the World Cafe Live stage, the frontperson gave it her all. Brandishing the mic stand above her head, she sang, danced, and even jumped in operating synth as the crowd bobbed their heads and danced with her.

“I feel like it wouldn’t be a Reyna Tropical set if I didn’t let you know that this is for the queers, this is for the trans folks… it’s for the love of all of it,” said Reyna above cheers and whoops. “So I just wanted to say hi, this is who I am, this is Reyna Tropical.”

Currently on tour with Portugal. The Man, Reyna Tropical will be stopping at World Cafe Live again in late July as well as the Newport Folk Fest. Details and tickets can be found at XPN’s Concert Calendar.

Setlist
May
08
Reyna Tropical
NON-COMM 2024
  • Cartagena
  • Suavecito
  • Madrugada
  • Ya Va Pasar
  • Conexion Ancestral
  • Lo Siento
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