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Puerto Rican singer’s new album embodies resilience of the island
Ileana Cabra Joglar, aka “iLe” former member of the band Calle 13 will be performing solo in San Francisco on Nov. 19. Photo: Alejandro Pedrosa/Worldjunkies

Puerto Rican singer Ileana “iLe” Cabra Joglar is touring the United States following her recent Grammy award winning album, “iLevitable,” and is set to make her way to the the Bay Area to perform at the Social Hall SF on Nov. 19.

This past February, iLe—who sang alongside her two brothers, René Pérez Joglar “Residente” and Eduardo Cabra “Visitante” for 10 years during her stint with Calle 13—released her solo debut “iLevitable,” which won the Grammy for “best Latin rock, urban or alternative album.”

“[Winning a Grammy] was very surprising for me and I didn’t think it would happen with my first album,” iLe said. “But winning truly made me happy…It’s not a goal, but something I do appreciate and it’s good that the hard work is recognized. But for me, the best satisfaction I get is being happy with my work and enjoying what I do which is art and music. That’s what I value the most, that to me is the accomplishment.”

But not all has been easy or delightful for the artist from Santurce, Puerto Rico. These past few months have been especially difficult after Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc throughout the island. iLe and her band have been without electricity on the island but have managed to continue to work through the challenges.

“It has all been very tough and it’s something we’re all still processing,” iLe said of the devastation in Puerto Rico. “It’s been more than a month, almost two months that we’re still without electricity. We have water, but there are still other places where people don’t have any water or electricity. Even since Hurricane Irma, and it all has truly been unfortunate. We’re living something very difficult but at the same time we’re all in solidarity as a nation.”

In an Instagram post on Oct. 16., the singer said that she would be collecting donations at each of her shows to bring back to Puerto Rico.

Ileana Cabra Joglar, aka “iLe” former member of the band Calle 13 will be performing solo in San Francisco on Nov. 19. Photo: Alejandro Pedrosa/Worldjunkies

As for her music and her solo album, iLe spoke of her passion of Caribbean music, explaining that her album is composed of a lot of Caribbean rhythms, but also that it was important for her to explore with other types of rhythms and genres.

The young vocalist has gone on to complete other projects such as co-writing and performing the theme song of the acclaimed Netflix and Univision show, “El Chapo,” and she sang the Puerto Rican National Anthem during the 2012 boxing match between Miguel Cotto vs Floyd Mayweather Jr.

The young Puerto Rican artist comes from a prominent artistic background as she’s the daughter of theater actress Flor Joglar de Gracia and musician José Cabra González. In her album, which was released in June 2016, iLe pays tribute to her late grandmother, Flor Amelia de Gracia, with songs “Quién Eres Tú,” and “Dolor,” which were written by her talented grandmother.

“My grandmother used to compose songs and sang beautifully,” she said. “For her, music was the most important thing and that’s something she instilled in all of her grandchildren. It’s something we hold dear to us.”

“iLevitable” isn’t just about rhythm and beats. iLe said this album is about expressing emotions and feelings.

“Most of the composers of the album are women,” said iLe. “Composed by my sister Milena Perez, my grandmother Flor Amelia de Gracia, and myself. They’re [songs] like the many facets that women have, I would say, because we’re from different generations and they’re songs about the complications and complexities that women go through every day.  At times people may take the songs as romantic, but for me they’re not meant to be romantic because sometimes they’re just things that we as women go through and have a hard time expressing due to how society sees us.”

Story by: Alejandro Galicia Díaz