René Pérez Joglar, better known as Residente of the music duo Calle 13, released a solo album with songs based on his DNA ancestry results last year. In a previous article, I explained this global project in which he traveled around the world and made music with local artists. Netflix recently released a documentary called Residente that follows this journey.
Like many Latin Americans, Joglar’s DNA results showed that his ancestry came from all over the globe. Residente follows the rapper as he makes his way through Asia, Europe, Africa, and back to his homeland of Puerto Rico. The documentary shows how he created songs using his own style and fusing it with traditional music from each region.
Residente introduces music styles and culture from many places. In Siberia, he records Tuvan throat singing and goes hunting with a Tuvan man named Vasili. An adorable girl named Tian Tian introduces China where Joglar blends his style with that of the Peking opera and Bai. In each country he delves into different types of styles and people from each region introduce some of their culture and history.
Listening to the multicultural songs is quite an experience, but it’s fascinating to get the story behind the different songs. The song "War" was made with artists from Ossetia, Georgia, and Armenia in the Caucasus region of Europe. In the documentary, Joglar explains how these countries have violent histories with each other. There are interviews from people of the region explaining some of the terrible things they have been through.
I would warn anyone that wants to watch Residente that there are briefly some graphic photos and footage during the sections where he talks about war in the Caucasus region and the colonization of Puerto Rico. There is also a brief scene of a cockfight towards the end. I don't want those scenes to deter people from watching this powerful documentary, but I do believe viewers need to be aware of those scenes if they feel they cannot handle them.
Residente is a fascinating and emotional documentary that takes viewers on an enlightening journey throughout the world. It is available now on Netflix.