Globetrotting reggae band from Puerto Rico, Cultura Profética performs at the Miami Reggae Festival this Saturday. The band has released five studio albums, their most recent being La Dulzura, which took a bit of a romantic detour from their past albums, which were more politically-charged.
The band headlines a roster that also features Bob Marley’s son Stephen Marley, Tiken Jah Fakoley plus reggae bands from nine different countries. The event aims to unify Miami’s diverse community through music in a family-friendly environment. The festival will host an artisan village of visual arts and handicrafts, an “Artecology Experience,” offering interactive games for kids about sustainability, healthy living seminars, yoga and positive vibrations for all.
We chat with Cultura Profética's guitarist and bassist Omar Silva before this weekend’s festival.
Why the name Cultura Profética?
The name came because we had a gig and they had to put a name on the flier. It was a really tough decision and they wanted it in English because of the reggae scene. It was Prophetic Culture and we said “No way, we're going to perform in Spanish so it can't be in English.” So we said well, Cultura Profética. We stuck with it because music is a voice of culture and is prophetic because the reggae music that we love and that influenced us is from the ’70s with themes of what’s happening now that can affect our future.
Talk about your songwriting process.
It’s very different. Each song has its own story. Basically, we agree in the very beginning that our composition process was going to be nonstop. Even though we record a song in an album, it keeps on molding when we play it live.
What are your plans as a band?
Since we're just closing this tour in 2013, we have to get into the studio and work on a new album. By 2014, there’s going to be new material coming out. We are touring in Latin America right now but we’re looking at Europe as the next big area to tour and conquer.
So you’re touring everywhere! How does it feel to have toured in so many countries around the world?
We are a fully independent band since the very beginning and we’ve never had a record label. We’ve done all of this by ourselves and we are very proud of it. But it took long. There is a saying in Spanish, “paso lento pero firme.” Slowly but surely, as they say in English.
What do you feel has been the group’s biggest accomplishment?
Communicating an artistic prospect because people have stopped me to say this wonderful story of how one song changed their life and whole way of viewing the world, or how it cured them from very deep depression. Right now we have responsibilities as artists because we know our music is powerful and it can transform in a positive way people in society. Seventeen years after the beginning we have an ability that is still touching other peoples lives for good. We know the power of the music and we respect it and we take full responsible of getting a good, positive message to people and I think that’s the most important thing we have done without a doubt.
How has the music itself changed? The lyrics have become less political and more romantic. Why?
Romantic is not a word that I like to use because romanticism has a connotation of suffering for love. We are talking about the love that elevates and purifies your soul. We are talking in the sense of the love that sets you free. The love that you see the whole universe in the other persons eye. That kind of love.
You’ve performed in Miami many times before. How do the crowds here compare to other crowds around the world?
We have in Miami a combination of a whole continent of Latin America and the Jamaican communities and the Miami communities. It is a very diverse public. We feel it is a bridge for us. For example, we play clubs that are Latin oriented like La Covacha or Studio A. We mostly have the Latin American public and when we play in festivals like we will be playing, we have the whole Miami reggae community. It's good for us because the Jamaican community doesn’t know about us and in these types of shows they meet us and can compare us to the big bands that are playing with us and they know we are not fooling around. It’s very important for us to grow in these types of concerts especially when we're playing with the likes of Stephen Marley, Carroll Thompson, classic reggae artists. The reggae festival this year is really, really special.