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Album of the Week: 'Malegría' by Reyna Tropical

A dark haired topless woman hunched over looking away from the camera with a large colorful parrot with wings spread perched on her back.
The long-awaited debut album from Reyna Tropical, "Malegria," is out as of the spring of 2024.

"Malegría" by Reyna Tropical is KAXE's Album of the Week for April 8-14, 2024.

To say that Reyna Tropical's debut album release has been long-awaited is a little on the nose.

The band has been releasing music since 2018 through a series of singles and EPs. Malegría marks the first full-length release and proves it was well worth the wait.

Originally a duo, Reyna Tropical is now led by guitarist, singer, songwriter and co-producer Fabiola Reyna following the tragic death of her collaborator, DJ Nectali Díaz in 2022.

Reyna has created an album celebrating wide-reaching cultural traditions, including Congolese, Peruvian and Colombian rhythms, while talking about topics like feminine sexuality, queer love and human connections to our natural earth.

Throughout Malegría, there are interludes with spoken word and low-fi instrumentals that give personal context and story to the album, from Reyna's discomfort with singing to talking about making music with a purpose. Those snippets embedded throughout create vulnerability and a through line for the album.

The word "malegría" is a blend of the Spanish word "mal," which means bad, and "alegría," which means happiness. Both can exist and be true at the same time. The sound of the album also holds that balance between of electronic and organic in Malegría. Both can exist and be true at the same time.

The two original members of Reyna Tropical sitting on chairs facing the camera - A woman on the left with a guitar leaning against her leg, man on the right looking at the camera.
Courtesy of the artist
Fabiola Reyna and her late collaborator, DJ Nectali 'Sumohair' Diaz.

Must listens

  • "Cartagena"
  • "Conocerla"
  • "Suavecito"
  • "La Mamá"
  • "Puerto Rico"
  • "Conexión Ancestral"

Stay Connected
The music director at KAXE since 2014, Kari (pronounced Car-ee) Hedlund reviews music on the daily. She also hosts New Music every Wednesday (2 and 10 p.m.) and Sunday (noon), along with the KAXE Morning Show on Thursdays.