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Thursday, October 01, 2009


The Language of Dance: Reggaeton Club Stars Wisin y Yandel

Written by Washington Post Express contributor Alfredo Flores

AT THE MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS last month, everyone in the audience was stunned when Kanye West rudely stole Taylor Swift's moment by storming the stage. Many were wondering why he would do such a thing, but reggeaton stars and first-time VMA nominees Wisin y Yandel were just wondering what the heck was going on. "Remember that we don't speak the language, so we did not know exactly what was being said, but we felt that something inappropriate was taking place," said Wisin (born Juan Luis Morera Luna) in Spanish — his "La Revolucion" with Yandel is this year's top-selling Latin album. "And our heart just went out to that young lady." While they may not speak English, their infectiously danceable Latin hip-hop is crossing cultures, being played on English-language music networks and radio stations. Their "Abusadora" was nominated for the MTV VMA for best pop video, becoming the first nominated song written entirely in Spanish in the history of the awards. To be happy just to be nominated is a cliche, but Wisin y Yandel (Yandel's real name is Llandel Veguilla Malave Salazar) were beaming while walking down the red carpet. They hobnobbed with English-language collaborators (through their manager/translator) they've worked with in the past — including 50 Cent, Lenny Kravitz, Fat Joe, Paris Hilton and — and those they may work with (a Justin Timberlake collab is in the works). Their work with 50, who raps in "Mujeres in the Club" in "Revolucion," began last year when W y Y invited him to perform with them at Madison Square Garden. "To our surprise, he came," Wisin said. "Not only did he perform with us; he expressed that he loved our music and would like to continue to collaborate with us, so we wrote 'Mujeres in the Club.' He sent it back to us with his rap on it, and the rest is history." That history includes 50,000 at a concert in Venezuela when 50 opened for the Puerto Rican duo in February, and a raucous sold-out show last month in Miami erupted when T-Pain made a surprise cameo performance. While Wisin y Yandel differ in music styles, they seemed perfectly joined at the hip when performing, finishing each other's sentences, fast and slow parts of tracks flowing perfectly. Wisin is assertive and aggressive — his spit-fire raps fire up the crowd — while Yandel is calmer, more laid-back. This combination of hard raps with smooth vocals, in with dembow, hip-hop, dancehall, reggae and pop, have led to a string of club-banging hits like "Rakata," "Llama Pa' Verte" and "Sexy Movimiento." » Patriot Center, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax; Thu., Oct. 1, 8 p.m., $38.50-$78.50; 703-993-3000.

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