Calle 13 – The Name:
Rene Perez and Eduardo Cabra are stepbrothers; Perez’ mother, actress Flor Joglar de Gracia married Cabra’s father, a lawyer and ex-musician. The couple eventually divorced but the stepbrothers remained close. When they were young, Perez lived at a gated community on Calle 13 and when Cabra came to visit, the guard at the gate would ask: Residente o Visitante? Thus, Perez took the name Residente (resident) and Cabra became Visitante (visitor).
Rene Perez – Residente:
Rene Perez Joglar was born Feb. 23, 1978 in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico. He grew up writing poetry and songs. He studied accounting at Escuela de Artes Plasticas but his creative drive drew him in other directions. He continued his education at Savannah University in Georgia, where he turned to animation with an eye towards a career in multi-media. Before turning to a full-time musical career, he filmed videos for art galleries and wrote songs and short films.
Eduardo Cabra - Visitante:
Eduardo Jose Cabra Martinez was born on Sept. 10, 1278 in Santurce, Puerto Rico. Showing an interest in music from an early age, Cabra took piano lessons from famed maestro, Jose Acevedo. He initiated his music studies at the Music Conservatory and later attended the Manolo Acosta School of the Arts, experimenting and mastering saxophone and flute as well as the piano. Eventually, he taught himself classical guitar.
Brothers in Music:
In 2004 Residente and Visitante began recording music together; their hope was to present their music to the world via website. They wrote a few songs and after about a year they sent a demo tape to White Lion Records, a small reggaeton label founded by Elias de Leon. They were soon signed to the label.
'Calle 13' - Debut Album:
Calle 13’s self-titled debut album contained two songs that were already hits on the Puerto Rican airwaves. “Se Vale To-To” (All Is Allowed) was the first and Residente directed and edited the song’s video clip. Next came “Atreve-te-te” where Calle 13 featured an unlikely but effective clarinet accompaniment that was an early indication that this was a group that was going to go their own way.
'Residente o Visitante':
In 2007, Calle 13 released their sophomore album, Residente o Visitante. Residente o Visitante confirmed the eclectic direction of the group’s music. The album’s first single was “Tango del Pecado” (Tango of Sin). While “Atreve-te-te” fuses reggaeton with cumbia, “Tango del Pecado” is an effective mix of reggaeton and Argentine tango and features Gustavo Santaolalla and his Bajofondo Tango Club.
Calle 13 was making contact with admired artists and Residente o Visitante features collaborations with Cuba’s Orishas on “Pa’l Norte,” and Spain’s La Mala Rodriguez on “Mala Suerta con el 13,” among others.
In 2007 Residente and Visitante spent much of the year touring through South America; they picked-up a number of local instruments, many of which were incorporated into the album’s musical arrangements.
Another result of the trip was the documentary, Sin Mapa.Sin Mapa chronicles the duo (with the help of sister Ileana) touring South America with an eye towards discovering indigenous music, culture and (perhaps) enlightenment.