Psychic Hotline

Reyna Tropical Announce Debut Album ‘Malegría’

January 18, 2024 - By Psychic Hotline

Today, Reyna Tropical announces her long-awaited debut album, Malegría, out March 29th via Psychic Hotline, and presents the new song “Cartagena.” Led by guitarist, singer, songwriter and producer Fabi Reyna, Malegría marks Reyna Tropical’s transition from the duo of Reyna and Nectali “Sumohair” Diaz to Reyna’s solo project following Diaz’s passing. Founded on the feelings of duality between bad and good, bitter and sweet, grief and love, and death and rebirth, Malegría is a contemporary celebration and continuation of wide-reaching cultural traditions. From Congolese, Peruvian, and Colombian rhythms to revolutionary artists like lesbian guitarist-singer Chavela Vargas, these influences meld and are remixed through the distinctive lens of Fabi Reyna. Malegría traverses themes including queer love, feminine sensuality, and the transformative power of intentional relations to the earth while spotlighting narratives often pushed to the margins, offering them a sonic homeland.

Listen to Reyna Tropical’s “Cartagena”

From the interludes to the found sounds, Malegría offers a home to diasporic beings de aquí y de allá, diasporic beings who are in the process of searching for and returning to ancestral roots. It documents the grief of letting go to who you were taught to be, the relief of finding who you are, and the power that results in belonging to yourself. On “Cartagena,” Reyna’s bright, multi-layered rhythms and vocals sing of feeling nurtured and energized by the elements, and, at the core, there is the sense of a mutual exchange of trust and care between her and the land. 

Formed in 2016, Reyna Tropical began as an organic exchange between Reyna and Diaz who met during a workshop series for emerging musicians. At that time, Reyna had been immersed in full-time work founding and building She Shreds, the world’s first magazine dedicated to women and nonbinary guitarists, and was itching for a creative release and return to her musical roots. The band’s spellbinding and distinctive sound were documented and formed with the release of their self-titled EP (January 2018). Best known for their rhythmic, hip-swaying tropical feel, the first Reyna Tropical tracks featured Ableton-made beats produced by Diaz—featuring Afro Indigenous drum patterns and environmental samples—expertly mixed with dreamy guitar riffs and soft vocals by Reyna. After the EP’s release, and the debut single, “Niña,” was featured on NPR Alt.Latino’s “Songs We Love” series, newfound fans and opportunities alike flocked—the band was regularly selling out shows, supported Bomba Estéreo on a US tour and booked gigs at major festivals, including Cumbiatón and Colombia’s Baile Sagrado. 

In 2020, after eight non-stop years building a business without time off, Reyna withdrew to nature for a community retreat. It was during this moment of stillness that the purpose of her life’s work, beyond running She Shreds, crystallized. For the next two years, Diaz and Reyna immersed themselves in a tropical journey guided by the music—from Cartagena, Colombia to Fajardo, Puerto Rico and Cuaji, Guerrero, Mexico—finding themselves in a harmonious relationship with local land, culture, and music wisdom stewards. Malegría is the culmination of self exploration fortified through an attunement to land—alongside Diaz and through his passing. 

As referenced above, the album’s interludes, which weave between each musical track, unfold a narrative all their own. “Singing” offers a peek into the beautiful, unexpected push-and-pull that can transpire amid symbiotic collaboration. With these interludes, we, as listeners, are invited into the creative exchange between Diaz and Reyna, and the growing sense of power Reyna has found and is now sharing with others through her music. 

“I’ve always wanted to have a home—a place or a sound or a person to go to—because I think our people, who are severed from our lands and our histories and our stories and our communities, have for generations not really known where to go,” Reyna said. “There are times on stage where I can feel that my movement isn’t my movement. I can feel that I’m being moved by and I’m speaking for other people. I know in my body when my ancestors are there, when a decision is ours.”