Entertainment

Exclusive: Luis Fonsi’s Tour Is Canceled But The Boricua Is Working Tirelessly To Raise Money For Puerto Rico

When it comes to Luis Fonsi, there’s no need for an introduction. You already know him, and even if you don’t, then you’ll most likely know his 2017 smash hit “Despacito” (and we’re not talking about the Justin Bieber version). If you’re like us at mitú, the song might still be tucked away somewhere in the very depths of your mind, playing like a broken record that still gets your body moving. 

👏And 👏You 👏Love 👏It! 👏

mitú had the opportunity to catch up with Mr. Fonsi and find out what he’s been up to in this quarantine/pandemic/absolute clusterf**k of a year, and what you can expect to see on his upcoming episode of NBC’s songwriting competition show Songland.

Mitú (M): How are you doing in this time of coronavirus and quarantine?

Luis Fonsi (LF): Good! Good, good. Adapting, you know? This is new for all of us, so I’m making the best out of it. It’s a different world we’re living in now. We just have to get through it together.

M: The “Vida World Tour” was canceled because of the outbreak, which is unfortunate. Anything you would like to tell your fans?

LF: We had to postpone [the tour] for obvious reasons. I think everybody understands what it is that we’re going through and the seriousness of it. And for everybody’s safety, we have to adapt. Nobody really knows how and when things and tours and concerts will go back to “normal.” We just have to follow the instructions and make sure we’re doing things right and make sure that everybody’s safe, and hope and pray a vaccine will come out sooner than later. 

As soon as we’re given the green light, we’ll reschedule everything then go out there and hit the road like we’ve never done before, that’s for sure. It’s gonna be an interesting sort of recovery process. We’ve all been holding in a lot and going through a lot, so I think music is going to be really important to help us heal, to help us come together. It’s really gonna be special to be in front of a crowd again.

M: The Luis Fonsi Foundation helped Puerto Rico through donations and reconstructions of homes after Hurricane Maria. Is your foundation doing anything during the pandemic? Anything fans can donate to?

LF: Absolutely! We’re laying the groundwork for the big events that we’re gonna do once we can get out of the house and do them. In the meantime, I’m doing different webinars and events to raise money – whether it’s for my foundation or not – you know what I mean? I think right now it’s just helping and using music and using my platform to help. It might be for another foundation, it might be for whatever… but if I can sing a song and bring people together, then you know what? I’m doing something right. And that’s what we have to do with our time. 

We had an event in May in Puerto Rico, a gala that was gonna raise money and help the south of [the island]. They had really bad earthquakes at the beginning of the year. 2020 hasn’t been the best year [laughs] and for Puerto Rico it’s been horrible. Historic earthquakes took out most of [the southern part] of the island. People still to this day are living in tents, it’s really bad. So we wanted to do something really special but unfortunately, for obvious reasons it had to be canceled. Trust me, as soon as things go back to somewhat normal – this is just like my tour – this is a priority for me. It always has been, now more than ever.

M: What made you want to join Songland?

LF: I love the show. I was a big fan of season one. And I’ve worked with [producer] Ryan Tedder before, we’ve written some songs. I think he’s one of the most talented all-around musicians in the game. I remember him back when we were working together he was talking about the show. I saw season one and I was really happy when I got the call to be invited into this new season.

[My episode] is a different thing, it’s a bilingual take on a song. It was really cool that they support Latin music and, being the first Latin artist on the show, I love the concept of it. I love the format of it. I’m a songwriter myself, so I know what it is to be stuck in a room trying to write the best hit song ever. 

For these songwriters who are not artists themselves, who are pitching songs to other artists, it’s such a beautiful opportunity to do it directly in this way and to make a competition out of it and make it fun. So I love the concept. Obviously I knew the show from watching season one, so to be a part of it was really special. 

I think people are going to enjoy my episode this Monday. It’s really cool and the winning song is amazing! I already recorded it, I performed it. Luckily this was pre-taped earlier in the year. I’ve been waiting for this moment to see the edited show and to be able to show the world the winning song and to release it and for people to hear it.

M: Can you tell us what the song is about?

LF: I wish I could sit here and sing it for you [laughs], but I can’t really talk about it until the show airs. All I can say is that all four songs that were pitched to me were amazing. It’s so hard to just pick one, but what I can say is that from the very first time I heard that song, it just felt like it was mine, you know? It felt like a song that I could sing every day on tour, and it was fun to see it grow and change quite a bit. But the essence of the original idea is there. I think people will get a kick out of that growth process, that evolution of that original idea and how it ended up sounding. I kinda gave my own personality to it. People will hear me perform it live, which is really cool. I did it at one of my shows! It was actually my very last show before quarantine time started. So it’s going to be a cool show and I can’t wait to see it myself.

M: Do you find songwriting in English to be a totally different experience than songwriting in Spanish?

LF: It feels the same because I’m sort of used to doing both things. I feel very comfortable speaking both languages. I can kind of switch it on and off, like the rhyming process and creative process. I can think in English or I can think in Spanish. It’s not really like I have to think differently. I think it’s more about the vibe of the song, like if I’m doing something more Latin-sounding. That’s kind of where it’s more than just the language. It’s more of the culture and the style than whether I’m singing in Spanish or English, and that’s the beauty behind it.

I talk about this in the show, but I don’t know if it’s going to come out or not [laughs] because we do a lot of talking. But twenty years ago it would be really weird to do a Spanglish song, you know? To mix both languages in one song it would be a little bit clunky and awkward, but now, the way the world has come together, we’re all a little bit more open to celebrating people’s differences and cultures and languages and stuff like that. So it almost makes it kinda cool, and that’s something that I really wanted to talk about and keep on “promoting” because that’s who I am. That’s where I come from. That’s what I want to keep celebrating.

M: Where do you think Latin music is going in the future? What do you want to see next?

LF: It’s just like any kind of music, any kind of genre, any kind of language. If it’s good, if it’s a good song, people are gonna vibe. People are gonna connect to it somehow. To me, it’s not just like, “oh it’s in Spanish, they’re not gonna understand it, they’re not gonna like it.” That thought to me is gone now. Because if the song has that whatever it is – that rhythm or that catchy hook, line, or it just takes you to that place – then you’re doing something right. 

And that’s tough to do. It’s tough to get people engaged and hooked on something that they’re not fully understanding. It’s twice as hard. And I’ve been blessed to do it and I did it in a big way with a song that the world connected to. And I wish I could sit here and tell you I knew exactly what I was doing when I was doing it but no, it just happens. I use that as fuel to keep on trying to connect the world through music. At the end of the day, that’s really the final language of it all.  It’s music.

M: What advice would you give to aspiring songwriters?

That’s a tough question to answer in a simple quick way. If you’re starting out in the songwriting world, surround yourself with people who have a little bit more experience. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, to do co-writes, to sit in a room and see how other songwriters work. And then decide what your angle is and defend who you are and what it is you do and what makes you different.

I think every songwriter has an angle, has a style. That is what we all need to find, and that’s what we really need to work on. It’s like, okay I’m good at doing this, let me work on that, let me be the best at that. And just write and write and write and write and never stop writing. And that’s it. It’s like any career. You have to go out there and you have to go for it. We’re all gonna fail, we’re all gonna run into walls, and we’re gonna run into people who say that we suck and that we should find another job, and that’s part of life and we should use that as fuel. It’s happened to me as a songwriter and it’s happened to me as an artist, and we just have to use that as fuel and keep going.

M: Thank you for your time!

LF: Appreciate you guys! Please stay safe!
Luis Fonsi’s episode of Songland airs Monday, April 20th at 10p.m. ET/PT

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Peru’s President Survives Impeachment Over Handling Of Coronavirus But What Happens Next?

Things That Matter

Peru’s President Survives Impeachment Over Handling Of Coronavirus But What Happens Next?

Chris Bouroncle / Getty Images

Earlier this month, Peru’s Congress moved to initiate impeachment proceedings against the country’s president over his alleged involvement with a singer involved in a fraud case. However, Peru’s struggle to contain the Coroanvirus outbreak also became a focal point of the impeachment proceedings.

Although, President Martín Vizcarra survived the impeachment vote this week, his country is still spiraling out of control in terms of the Covid-19 pandemic. Peru now has one of the world’s highest mortality rates, made worse by political strife and Peruvians are wondering where the country goes next amid all the turmoil.

Peru’s President survived his impeachment trial but he still faces serious hurdles in the road ahead.

What started out as an alleged fraud and corruption case, devolved into a sort of referendum on Vizcarra’s handling of the country’s failed Coronavirus response. The Coronavirus tragedy has fueled political insurrection. On Sept. 18, an opportunistic legislature tried to oust the president, who has been dogged by accusations of misusing public funds and then covering up the scandal.

However, the revolt fell flat. Just 32 lawmakers voted to remove Vizcarra, glaringly short of the 87-vote impeachment threshold, which is a good thing. Regime change on top of a public health hecatomb might have pushed the afflicted nation that much closer to collapse.

The decision came after long hours of debate in which legislators blasted Vizcarra but also questioned whether a rushed impeachment process would only create more turmoil in the middle of a health and economic crisis.

“It’s not the moment to proceed with an impeachment which would add even more problems to the tragedy we are living,” lawmaker Francisco Sagasti said.

The original impeachment case stemmed from his alleged involvement with a singer who faced serious charges of fraud.

President Vizcarra faced the challenge to his leadership after the Congress approved a motion to start impeachment proceedings against him over leaked audio tapes and alleged ties to a singer involved in a fraud case.

Lawmakers in Peru’s Congress, a mosaic of parties from the left and right with no overall majority, heard recordings of two private conversations between Vizcarra and government officials about meetings with Richard Cisneros, a little-known singer.

Vizcarra told reporters that the new challenge represented “a plot to destabilise the government.” “I am not going to resign,” he said. “I have a commitment to Peru and I will fulfill it until the last day of my mandate.”

Presidential elections are due to be held next year and Vizcarra has already said he will not run again.

But given Peru’s failed Covid-19 response, the president also faces serious doubts in his abilities to bring the country back from the brink.

Latin America has been devastated by the pandemic and it’s only been exacerbated by the total obliteration of growing wealth across the region – as millions are left out of work. The pandemic has largely undone decades of hard work that helped pull millions of Latin Americans out of poverty.

And Peru once the showpiece of Latin American economies — growing at a pacesetting 6.1% a year between 2002 and 2013 and lifting 6.4 million out of poverty — the country saw gross domestic product fall 30% in the second quarter, and is likely to finish the year aound 17% poorer before rebounding next year, according to Bloomberg Economics. Despite generous aid to the poor and strict social distancing rules that drew international praise, the Andean country has been burdened by the pandemic with one of the world’s highest mortality rates.

The possibility of a president being impeached amid the pandemic, had many in the U.S. wondering if we could do the same.

In the U.S., Donald Trump has left much of the country to fend for itself as the pandemic ravages state after state. There has been little in the way of a national plan for how to overcome the outbreak. In fact, many lies about the virus, treatment, and contagion have come directly from the president himself.

He’s even instructed the CDC to stop sharing pandemic-related information with the public, and instead to send all data directly to the White House.

Donald Trump and his administration have sowed division and false information that has resulted in the deaths of more than 200,000 Americans and months of on and off again quarantine orders that seem to have no end in sight. With policies like this, it’s no surprise that some are seriously considering a second impeachment trial.

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You Can Order A ‘Taco Vacuna’ And ‘La Cura’ At This Covid 19-Themed Taqueria

Culture

You Can Order A ‘Taco Vacuna’ And ‘La Cura’ At This Covid 19-Themed Taqueria

Tacovid: SaborViral / Facebook

Pandemia. Brote. Vacuna. La Peste. Although you may find these terms in a glossary about the Covid-19 outbreak, that’s not what these words actually refer to. Instead, they’re options on the menu at a Mexican taqueria called “Tacovid: Sabor Viral”, a perhaps surprisingly very successful Coronavirus-themed restaurant.

Although to many having a Covid-themed taqueria may seem morbid or disrespectful or perhaps gross – I mean who wants to order a plague taco? – the taqueria is making light of a very serious situation with humor. Something that several other businesses have done since the pandemic began.

”Tacovid: Sabor Viral” is the Mexican taqueria going viral – pun intended – for its Covid-themed menu.

Ok…virus-themed tacos don’t exactly sound appetizing. Especially, as we’re still in the midst of a very real pandemic. But one 23-year-old man in the Mexican city of León, who was forced to close down his dance studio because of Coronavirus, is counting on a Covid-themed restaurant – and so far he’s been surprised by its success.

Brandon Velázquez converted his dance academy into a taquería at the end of July, and given that Mexico and the rest of the world was – and is – in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic decided to call it Tacovid Sabor Viral.

“I had to close my dance academy during the pandemic [but] then an opportunity arose to return to the same place, however, people still did not go out for fear of getting infected.” he told the newspaper El Universal.

“I had always wanted to open a taqueria and, at the end of July, the opportunity to do so occurred. It was how I took advantage of the moment to create this business with a coronavirus theme,” he added.

Items on the menu are named after – you guessed it – the Coronavirus and don’t sound like anything you’d willfully choose to order.

The young entrepreneur detailed the name of each dish, taking full advantage of the Coronavirus theme.

“We have around 12 different dishes, among them are the ‘Tacovid’; we have ‘Forty’, ‘Quesanitizing’, ‘Pandemic’, ‘Outbreak’, and many others. The price varies depending on the dish you order,” he told El Universal.

In addition to themed dishes, the servers also fit the Coronavirus-theme.

When the pandemic hit Mexico, the government urged Mexicans to observe “su sana distancia” and the now common mascot – Susana Distancia – was born.

“In the restaurant, a waitress dressed as a nurse with the name of ‘Susana’ takes orders and works the tables, referring to the healthy distance campaign that was implemented as a precautionary measure,” he says.

To his surprise – and honestly mine as well – the taqueria has been very successful.

Brandon told El Universal that he’s been pleasantly surprised by the support he has received from customers. “I’m surprised because we have had really good sales, despite the circumstances, we have had a lot of support by the community and we’ve already expanded to have two locations.”

“Customers are funny about the theme we are using in the business, and they are delighted with the dishes we are offering. They enjoy it and have a good time,” added Brandon.

Things are looking so good for Brandon and his Covid-themed taqueria, that he’s looking to expand the food business and add new dishes to the menu. “There is always the idea of new names for other dishes that we want to include in the menu.”

Brandon also said that he’s looking to build out a business model so the restaurant could expand to other parts of the country as a franchise.

Apparently, people are really into Covid-themed foods, as this isn’t the first place that a shop as cashed in on the pandemic. Back in April, a panadería was selling out of Covid-themed baked goods so quickly, they couldn’t keep the shelves stocked.

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