The “Macarena” is getting a Cuban makeover in a new video of the song shot in Havana. Los Del Río, the Southern Spanish duo responsible for the international novelty hit that incited G-rated hip swiveling and shouts of “ay” in the mid-nineties, were in Havana on Monday (July 18) to make the video with Cuban hitmakers Gente de Zona, who’ve collaborated on a new version of the song with a tropical beat.
The video features local female dancers giving “Macarena” some Cuban flavor, according to a report in the Havana-based online music magazine Vistar. Vintage convertibles, a bicycle taxi and familiar city landmarks make appearances.
The clip comes after the artists came together to debut the song on last week’s Premios Juventud awards show. Titled “Más Macarena” (“More Macarena”), it has since been released on digital services.
Los Del Rio’s Antonio Romero and Rafael Ruiz have previously put out seven versions of “Macarena,” originally released in 1993 with a celebratory flamenco rumba beat. The 1994 “Bayside Boys Mix” caught fire in 1995, and in 1996 it spent 14 weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The track came in No. 2 on Billboard’s list of Hot 100 Hits of the 1990s.
In 2002, it was ranked the #1 Greatest One-Hit Wonder of all Time by VH1. According to the group’s website, the song has sold some 14 million copies worldwide.
Romero and Ruiz celebrated the 50th anniversary of their musical career in 2015. The natives of a small town outside of Seville — where they still reside — first performed together on a radio show in 1962 when they were 14 years old.
While in Cuba, the artists referred to the song as “revolutionary.”
“The ‘Macarena’ doesn’t stop, it’s a revolutionary song in every way and that’s why it doesn’t die,” Los del Rio told Vistar. (As Spaniards, Antonio Romero and Rafael Ruiz have no regulatory issues related to the U.S. embargo to consider when working in Cuba,)
They said reaching the half-century mark as performers spurred them to record a current version of the song, with new energy brought by Gente de Zona.
The Cuban duo has had a string of hit collaborations with Enrique Iglesias (“Bailando”) and Marc Anthony (“La Gozadera” and “Traidora”). They punch up the song with an easy reggaeton beat, and add new lyrics, like the line “I want to die in Cuba dancing the Macarena.”
Whether other people are as excited about reliving the moment in the ’90s when the song played from every radio station and public place remains to be seen.
And could the video be as seductive as the original?
Given the addition of Gente de Zona, the song’s track record, and the seduction of all things made in Cuba lately, this unexpected entry is making a bid for Latin song of the summer.