The inspiration came to Puerto Rican artist Ileana Cabra, or island, emerging from the gloom of 2020. The lockdown and lack of social interaction of the early days of lockdown left her adrift, with plenty of downtime to reflect on her life and the forces that drive her creativity. The uncertainty of the world suffocated her and the only thing she could do was turn to music.
Seeking to release these feelings, the singer-songwriter decided to write Nacarile, his first album in three years. The project is his most ambitious and experimental work to date – a cornucopia of art-pop tinged with bolero, hip-hop, protest music, Caribbean folk rhythms and psychedelia. It is a testimony to the strength of his will; she channels her emotions in 11 tracks, illustrating her deep commitment to social justice and her desire for personal fulfillment and genuine love. Above all, iLe cares, and it shows in every one of his graceful words.
iLe has always stuck to genres, and through Nacarile, she and her longtime producer Ismael Cancel marry and intertwine styles in inventive ways, often within the same songs. His politics are honored on titles such as “ALGO BONITO”, where, alongside reggaeton royalty ivy queen, she tackles patriarchal triggers and reclaims common sexist hisses, turning them into urgent demands for progress on women’s rights. She takes a similar approach in “traguito”; Beneath a haunting bolero melody, she and Chilean singer-songwriter Mon Laferte challenge the stereotype of the hard-headed “difficult” woman. They assert that there is nothing wrong with being free to make one’s own decisions or refusing to serve the soft ego of men. The provocative lyrics don’t lag behind either, leaving the track’s thesis unchallenged: “It’s not that I was picky, it’s that I was who I wanted to be,” she sings. . It’s an authentic take on the bolero, and the contemporary and catchy theme makes it even more special.
iLe is the younger sister of brothers René Pérez and Eduardo Cabra, known individually as Resident and Visitante, and together as the rap duo Calle 13. She began her career as a background vocalist for the group before slowly gaining a bigger presence in their live shows and albums. She went solo in 2016, eventually releasing her Grammy-winning debut album iLevitable the same year. From an early age, iLe was close to the politically charged songs of his brothers, as well as the wealth of Latin American icons they became close to during their careers, such as Rubén Blades, Susana Baca, Silvio Rodriguez, and Totó la Momposina. These experiences have helped nurture her innate militant feelings and sharpen some of the values she holds most firmly, such as her feminist advocacy. This political impulse fuels many tracks and imbues them with honesty.