Residente beckoned a reluctant Leo Messi to the makeshift stage at a private party at Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium Thursday night (Jan. 31), held to celebrate the upcoming Cirque du Soleil show based on the story of the superstar football player’s spectacular life on the pitch. Messi didn’t dance, though, urged on by teammate Luis Suarez, he did jump up and down. Whispering to an amused Residente (a.k.a. René Perez), he made a request: Calle 13’s song “Por Ti.” Flanked by his wife, Antonella Roccuzzo, and a discreet bodyguard, Messi tapped on a Puerto Rican pandereta drum painted with his own image that was presented to him by members of the band.
Residente was the only musical performer at the unveiling event for Cirque du Soleil’s “Messi10,” where a promotional video was shown in which Messi was compared to a rock star. Before conscious rapper and singer Residente opened his short set with Calle 13’s “Atrévate-Te-Te,” a Cirque contortionist did her routine to a song by Rosalía, who, like Residente, is a Sony Music artist.
Sony is the label partner for Messi10 by Cirque du Soleil. José Manuel Pinto, a former Barça player who has been described as Messi’s “best mate,” has signed on as a musical producer for the show, which will be directed by Cirque veteran Mukhtar Omar Sharif Mukhtar. Pinto, who makes music under the name Pinto Wahín, scored a Billboard chart hit with “La Habana” a collaboration with Cuban reggaeton artist El Taiger that was featured on the Fate and The Furious soundtrack. He said on Thursday night that he is about to release a solo album on Sony Music Latin.
Wahín told Billboard that he is writing music for the Cirque show, and that audiences could expect to hear a “combination of classic songs and new compositions.”
Sony Music Latin/Iberia Chairman Afo Verde, who was also at the party, said at a press conference earlier this week that the show’s recorded soundtrack (there will be no live musicians) will include "songs that have been special in Leo’s life and things that are heard in the stadiums, whose atmosphere we want to reproduce.” Verde also promised “great historical songs that are being adapted for the show by their creators."
While Wahín said it is premature to talk about artists who may collaborate on the Messi10 soundtrack, the show could logically present opportunities for other Sony Latin artists, and a contingent of artists signed to Sony Spain and Sony Music Latin were in Barcelona for the party. They included Puerto Rican singer Pedro Capó, hip hop artist C. Tangana, members of the Spanish pop-rock group Estopa, Goya winning singer-songwriter Leiva and Argentine artist Axel. The crowd of about 200 people also included representatives from PopArt Music, the Argentine concert promoter behind Cirque’s "Se7ptimo Día," the recently staged show that was based on the story of the band Soda Stereo, which is co-producing Messi10 with Cirque.
Messi10 is set to premiere at Barcelona’s Parc del Forum Oct. 10, in a 3000-capacity tent designed to look like a soccer field (Messi himself will not be in the show). Barça fans are sure to snatch up tickets as soon as they go on sale next week. Subsequent dates for the show’s international tour are to be announced.