I take a lot of pride in my historic hometown of Boston, where we’re well-known for our role in the Revolutionary War, and also the host of some of the best colleges in the country, like Harvard and Berklee College of Music. What I didn’t know until recently is our role in the emergence of the musical genre of reggaeton.
That was my initial reaction too. When people think of Boston, they think of the Irish, or the Italians, or the sports teams. I had no idea we played a role in the development of reggaeton until I chanced upon a documentary about it on Netflix. Some of the most influential people in the startup of reggaeton met in Boston. These are the Luny Tunes, a production duo who ended up winning Latin Grammy Awards and Latin Billboard Awards, and helped produced some of the early records of reggaeton kings, such as Tego Calderón and Don Omar.
Boston is not the same hub of Latino migration as, say, our neighbor New York City, or Miami, or Los Angeles. But we do have a larger Latino population than one might expect. According to the Pew Research Center in 2010, Hispanics in the MA/NH area are primarily migrating from Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and El Salvador, which may explain why both “Luny” (Francisco Saldana) and “Tunes” (Victor Cabrera) were able to meet after migrating from the DR to Peabody (a suburb outside Boston). They both went on to work in the kitchens at Harvard University, and worked together on music in the meantime. Apparently, when Luny received an offer to work in Puerto Rico, Tunes followed, and they ended up producing that one Latin hit everyone knows – “Gasolina” by Daddy Yankee.*
Imagine if Luny and Tunes hadn’t met together in Boston! Where would we be now in the world of reggaeton, without Daddy Yankee, or without the rise of Don Omar, who ended up recording my favorite song to dance to, “Danza Kuduro.” Some friends of mine have questioned my musical taste when I say I like reggaeton, since I claim to be an indie/alternative lover, but I can’t help it, and you wouldn’t either, if you heard this song. Doesn’t it just make you want to dance? I’m so proud of my city right now. Join me and dance to celebrate our beloved Boston’s role in the formation of reggaeton:
*See this book for more info.