Considered one of Café Tacvba‘s biggest hits (if not the biggest) and an iconic rock song in Latin America, the Mexican band is reconsidering playing “La ingrata” live and/or contemplating changing the lyrics to show solidarity against femicide.
The Grammy-winning band resurfaced an interview from November on Facebook after they refused to play “La ingrata” at a music fest in Costa Rica. “Hello, friends. Here is something on how we feel about the lyrics. For us, women deserve respect, love and care.”
Hola amigos. Les dejamos la nota completa que nos hicieron en Argentina el año pasado por el periódico LA NACION, ahí…
In the Q&A with La Nación, the band members are asked about the lyrics of the 1994 hit, featured on their influential album Re, whose lyrics tell the story of a heartbroken man who considers shooting his “ungrateful” lover and, despite hurting him, will be by her side at her funeral.
“We were really young when we wrote the song and we weren’t sensitive to those issues the way we are now,” lead vocalist Rubén Albarran said in the interview. “It’s time for us to reflect if we will keep playing it or change the lyrics because now we are aware of the issues. And I, personally, am not interested in supporting that. A lot of people can say that it’s just a song. But songs are culture, and that type of culture can empower some people to hurt others.”
Band member Emmanuel del Real adds: “The song is based on humor and inspired by corridos, whose lyrics often narrate stories that don’t have a sense of humor. If the song produces an incorrect reading, then it goes beyond the intention the song had at that moment.”
While Cafeta is known for their activism on social and environmental causes, their thoughts on the song has generated mixed emotions amongst fans who have taken to social media to ask the band not to change the lyrics of the song — comments coming mainly from women. “You can’t change your past, but you can learn from it. Please don’t change the lyrics,” writes a fan.
Another comment reads: “For many of us from that generation, this song had an impact in our history and is part of our essence. Only people with a twisted minds and poor criteria would think that the lyrics incite violence. I also agree that reggaetón does denigrate women and yet they don’t prohibit their lyrics that lack talent.”
Others applaud the band for reconsidering playing the song: “Well done. A gesture like that means a lot especially coming from a part of our culture that glorifies certain stereotypes. Over here in Argentina many rock singers are being charged with sexual abuse and that happens often because they take advantage of their power.”
“Wow, guys, I admire you. This song is part of your greatness and personality as Café Tacvba. Reconsidering playing it live is definitely an act of unconditional love. I hope this helps create awareness among other songwriters.”
Recently, Café Tacvba dropped their new single “Futuro” ahead of their forthcoming album. The group is set to perform at the Hollywood Bowl in September as part of the Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA exhibition series.