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Guest DJ: iLe Shares The Classic Sounds Driving Her New Solo Music

Vocalist iLe
Worldjunkies / Alejandro Pedrosa
Courtesy of the artist
Vocalist iLe

Ileana Cabra Joglar has one foot in the present and one in the past. As "PG-13," she was the younger sister to the two brothers — René Pérez Joglar, aka Residente, and Eduardo José Cabra Martínez, aka Visitante — of Puerto Rican hip-hop group Calle 13, performing with them for tens of thousands of people across Latin America, the U.S. and Europe.

As Residente and Visitante took a break to pursue their individual muses, so did PG-13. In 2016, she re-emerged as iLe and released the album iLevitable, which landed about as far from Calle 13's sound as you can get. It was a love letter to the classic boleros and mambos of another era, an intoxicating mix of covers and originals that perfectly captured the sentido of the passion behind the best writing of that period. Critics loved the record, audiences even more so.

With that in mind, her list of songs for her Guest DJ gig — all classics, all the time — came as no surprise. She stopped by Alt.Latino world headquarters in the midst of an extensive tour for the album to share them.

There is a lesson in her choice of the big bands and big voices of '50s era mambos and boleros: The direct line between this music and the music she performed with her brothers in Calle 13 taps into our humanity and helps us get in touch with passions we feel about life, about love and our care for one another.

This week, iLe is our guide to those emotions.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Felix Contreras is co-creator and host of Alt.Latino, NPR's pioneering radio show and podcast celebrating Latin music and culture since 2010.