JuanGa’s ‘El Noa Noa’ Just Got A Modern Trancey Twist In A Remake From Georgel & Esteman And I Don’t Hate It
While it’s been three years since the iconic Mexican singer Juan Gabriel’s alleged death, JuanGa’s legacy is still alive. Every time a sequin is handsewn onto a garment, Juanga gets another pair of golden angel wings. He doesn’t need anymore, guys! To usher in a new generation of Juanga stans, Mexican singer Georgel, and Colombian singer Esteman have put a modern twist on the 1980’s classic “El Noa Noa.”
While Juan Gabriel’s sexual orientation was subject to speculation during and after his life, it goes without saying that his flamboyant style with his bold sequins and whimsical touches found a comfortable home in the LGBTQ+ canon. His persona evoked a sense of liberation that was inaccessible to queer Latinxs at the time. What makes this version of “El Noa Noa” different, and what marks a clear evolution of LGBTQ+ folks in the Latinx community, is that both Georgel and Esteman are out and proud.
This song is personal for Georgel.
Georgel and Esteman teamed up with producer Juan Pablo Vega to create a unique and fresh cover of “El Noa Noa.” The music video premiered this week on Billboard.
“I grew up thinking of Juan Gabriel as the greatest artist in Latin America,” Georgel told Remezcla. He and his husband, Guillermo Rosas were friends with Juan Gabriel who they remember by his real name, Alberto. Georgel believes the ’80s bop was Juanga’s way of giving the public a tiny taste of who he really was.
“‘El Noa Noa’ was an international hit during the ’80s and a social phenomenon for the LGBTQ+ community,” he said. “It gave strength to the phrase, ‘ser de ambiente’ (being part of the LGBTQ+ community) and in my opinion, it was a window into the world where [Juan Gabriel] always wanted to live.”
To revamp the legendary hit would be a huge undertaking. Georgel enlisted the help of another gay Latinx artist, Colombian singer and songwriter Esteman to give “El Noa Noa” a modern electro-cumbia update.
“There was immediate chemistry, artistically speaking,” Esteman told Billboard. “He told me he wanted to do the song with me, and I thought it was a great idea to bring this classic song to our generation.”
“El Noa Noa” was ahead of its time.
Georgel and Esteman decided to go with a retro-futuristic music video which is no surprise since “El Noa Noa” was way ahead of its time. The song envisioned a world where patrons of a Juarez nightclub could dance and be themselves freely.
“In my opinion, it’s the most fun, it’s the most uptempo, it’s the one that our Mexican and Latin culture remembers as a party song,” Georgel told Billboard.
Whether intentionally or not, it’s hard not to imagine a place not too different from an LGBTQ+ nightclub with ball competitions or the sexual freedom kept safely hidden between the walls of the infamous New York City nightclub Studio 54 in the 1970s.
Out of this world.
In the video, Georgel and Esteman ride around in a sportscar wearing sequined bomber jackets. After getting stranded on the highway they discover a glowing red door that transports them to a Juarez club with drag queens, astronauts, galaxies, and choreographed dance. Complete with voguing and aliens, the new “El Noa Noa” brings the surreal feeling of the song to life by showing viewers a different world, one that might even be better than this one.
“It looks like we’re on another planet but basically, it’s to show that when you go to ‘El Noa Noa,’ everyone is different,” Esteman told Billboard. “The best part is the message it sends of accepting each other in this diverse world, where everyone is welcomed and where we have freedom of speech.”
New generation. New freedoms.
While “El Noa Noa” may have been an unspoken LGBTQ+ anthem in the 1980s, in 2019, what was unsaid can now be spoken. Georgel and Esteman couldn’t be better messengers to continue Juanga’s legacy of freedom, liberation and being as extra as you can be.
In the world that they have created, even if it only exists in a 4 minute music video, everyone finally gets to be themselves in a way that many people of Juanga’s time could not. Even if it still just a fantasy (because hello, there are 71 countries where it is illegal to be an LGBTQ+ person) there was a time when even suggesting the fantasy could have dangerous consequences. “El Noa Noa,” now. “El Noa Noa,” forever.
“What’s beautiful about bringing it back in this day and age is that we are showing it to a new generation, reviving it and making it alive again with two voices that are part of the LGBT community,” Georgel said.