Video directed by Angie Scarpa. All photos by Andrea Perez.

Reyna Tropical: KCRW Live from HQ

Intimate performances, fresh sounds, and candid conversations with a view.

LA’s Reyna Tropical formed in 2016 as “an organic, unhurried exchange” between guitar impressaria and She Shreds founder Fabi Reyna and DJ-producer-beatmaker Nectali “Sumohair” Diaz. As a duo, they received accolades from NPR’s Alt Latino, toured with Colombian electro-groovers Bomba Estéreo, and engaged in their own globe-trotting “tropical journey” to deepen and inform their signature psych-cumbia sound. Following Diaz’s untimely death in 2022, Reyna Tropical came to a crossroads. 

Still reeling from the tragic loss, Reyna says she found herself almost supernaturally compelled to continue the project, and in March released Reyna Tropical’s long-awaited debut LP, Malegriá. The title, taken from a 1998 Manu Chao song of the same name, is a portmanteau akin to “bittersweet,” melding the Spanish “mal” (“bad”) and “alegría” (“happiness”). It’s a fitting description for the moment in which Reyna finds herself. While much of the album’s material was conceived in collaboration with Diaz while he was alive, Reyna says that bringing their debut to fruition required her to commune with Diaz metaphysically, asking for (and receiving) input from his spiritual presence during each step of the process. 

Malegría is a vibrant, joyous celebration of perseverance that harmonizes Reyna’s complex guitar tones with Diaz’s carefully considered beats. It’s consistently cool yet torrid, punctuated by Reyna’s coy vocal style and lyrics that touch on everything from queer joy, to international travel, to deep ancestral ties.  

Experience it for yourself via the video at the top of the page where Reyna (guitar, vocals) and Nay Mapalo (bass, synths, drums beats) inhabit KCRW’s Annenberg Performance Studio to get your blood pumping and your feels flowing with Malegría cuts like “Cartagena,” “Movimiento,” and “Suavecito.” Plus, enjoy Reyna’s soulful conversation with Novena Carmel below, in which she reflects on her enduring connection to Sumohair and shares the sweet backstory of Malegriá’s evocative artwork.

Explore more KCRW Live From sessions

Credits:

KCRW Music Director: Anne Litt
Interviewer: Novena Carmel 
Director / Editor / Colorist: Angie Scarpa
Director of Photography: Vice Cooler
Camera Operators: Vice Cooler, Kylie Hazzard, Angie Scarpa
KCRW Recording / Mix Engineer: Nick Lampone
Assistant Engineers: Katie Gilchrest (Front of House), Hope Brush 
Executive Producer: Ariana Morgenstern 
Producers: Anna Chang and Liv Surnow
Digital Producer: Marion Hodges
Digital Editorial Manager: Andrea Domanick
Lighting Design: Jason Groman
Art Director: Evan Solano

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