Calle 13 is a highly successful band composed of three siblings: René Pérez Joglar, Eduardo José Cabra Martínez, and Ileana Cabra Joglar, all from Puerto Rico. They hold the record for the greatest number of Latin Grammy awards, having earned 21 in less than a decade, and they also have won two Grammy awards.
Calle 13’s music is eclectic, using a broad range of instruments, traditional musical influences from different parts of the world, characteristics of various genres, and unconventional images in their music videos.
The band is also known for political activism as well as for personal attacks on political figures in Puerto Rico, the U.S. in general and elsewhere in the world. They are associated with Puerto Rico’s independence movement as well as with a variety of social causes ranging from Occupy Wall Street to gun safety on New Year’s Eve in Puerto Rico, where a traditional custom of shooting guns into the air has led to injuries. Their song on the latter subject, “Ley De Gravedad,” was produced at the request of then-governor Anibal Acevedo Vilá.
Calle 13’s members have spoken out about the responsibility of artists with an audience to express important messages and increase their audiences’ awareness of social issues. However, they have also rejected the description of their music as political, emphasizing that they sing and speak about “social causes” rather than political issues.
Perez, known as Residente, has been quoted as saying, “Latin America is incomplete without a free Puerto Rico.”
More recently, at the Latin Grammy Awards, Perez was quoted by the L.A. Times with a clearer statement about Puerto Rico’s status:
It really has to do with human rights. At this point, the choice is between being a state and being independent. But this whole thing of being a colony, it doesn’t work. Obama is my president even though I can’t vote for him.