Growing up in Mexicali, located in the border Mexican state of Baja California, Reik grew up listening to regional Mexican music singing along to songs by Vicente Fernández and Intocable while at reunions with friends.
Now, in a full-circle moment, the Mexican trio, composed of Jesús Navarro, Julio Ramírez and Bibi Marin, are paying tribute to anthemic songs like Intocable’s “Fuerte No Soy” and Fernández’s “Estos Celos.”
“These are our roots and our legacy. Just how we experimented in the urban genre, we really do want to explore the regional Mexican genre,” says Ramírez. “This is the right way to start that experimentation. When we started collaborating with urbanos, we partnered with the right artists and producers and we’re doing it the same way with these songs and we plan on doing collaborations with regional Mexican artists.”
Known for their pop ballads and later in their career embracing urbano rhythms, Reik taps into the regional Mexican space to pay homage to some of the sings that provided the soundtrack to their childhood and teenage years.
“We wanted to do a version that would be loyal to our style and our DNA with a respect for the melodies and how these songs are traditionally interpreted by the original singers,” says frontman Jesús Navarro.
The six-track set includes the aforementioned tracks plus Marco Antonio Solís’ “Si No Te Hubieras Ido,” Julión Álvarez’s “Te Hubieras Ido Antes,” Joan Sebastian’s “Tatuajes” and Banda MS’ “Háblame De Ti.”
Below, Reik’s Jesús, Julio and Bibi break down the covers featured on De México.
“Si No Te Hubieras Ido”
Bibi: “I have to confess that I didn’t listen to a certain type of regional Mexican songs while growing up and “Si No Te Hubieras Ido” was one of those songs that I hadn’t paid attention to. But it wasn’t until we played this song during a special performance in Mexico a few years ago that I truly discovered it. I really paid attention and understood the lyrics and I looked up why Marco Antonio Solís had penned the song. So, the song grew on me and when we chose it for this EP and the arrangements we did for it, I thought it turned out spectacular.
“Te Hubieras Ido Antes”
Jesús: “Obviously, we heard it first with Julión Álvatrez but Joss Favela wrote the song. We met Joss a while back and we’re good friends so we’ve been wanting to collaborate for a long time now. When we released this song, Joss wrote to us saying that we finally had collaborated even if it was this way. We’re very proud of singing that song.”
“Fuerte No Soy”
Julio: “I’m a big fan Intocable, well we all are, and when I first discovered regional Mexican music and realized the different sounds of the genre, Intocable always felt familiar . They were like the ‘pop’ in the genre and this song is iconic. I remember singing it with friends at reunions and that song was the one we all wanted to grab the mic and sing out loud. I love that we picked this song because we all know it and we’ve all sung that track at a party. We’ve always wanted to collaborate with Intocable and in a way, we finally did.”
Bibi: “Vicente is an icon and he’s one of the biggest artists in Mexico. To record one of his song, it’s a little too easy because he’s an icon so we obviously had to pick him and at the same it’s delicate because we all know his songs and there’s a lot of pressure. People will pay attention to what we did with this song.”
“Háblame De Ti”
Jesús: “We struggled to pick one song from Banda MS because we admire that band so much. We thought that this one was the most well-known song and we loved singing it and talking to them about our version. They’ve been very supportive of what we’ve done with it. And, at the same time, we’re laying down the groundwork to be able to collaborate soon.
Julio: “We all know that Joan Sebastian was been a great singer and songwriter. And, there are songs that go beyond your taste, regardless of whether you were a fan of Joan or not and this song is one of those songs. It became a cultural phenomenon and an anthem. The impact it has on an audience is incredible. It’s an excellent song to sing and we’re very happy with the result.”