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Grammy-winning 'Patria y Vida' became an international protest phenomenon. Now it will be the subject of a documentary

Cuba rapper Yotuel Romero (center) and other Cuban singers in the music video for Patria y Vida
Cuba rapper Yotuel Romero (center) and other Cuban singers in the music video of Patria y Vida

Two of the anthem's composers are partnering with a production company to make a film about how it was created — and then created a rallying cry for Cubans.

A week ago the Cuban protest song “Patria y Vida”won the Latin Grammy for Song of the Year — and became an even bigger cultural phenomenon. Now it's set to be the subject of a film.

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“Patria y Vida” was already an international sensationwhen it took two Latin Grammys last week (including Best Urban Song). That’s because it was the anthem for unprecedented anti-government protests that shook communist Cuba last summer.

A feature-length documentary now in production will look at how “Patria y Vida” was created and how it became a freedom cry for Cubans. Two of the song’s writers and performers — Yotuel Romero and Beatriz Luengo — are partnering with Exile Content studios in Los Angeles to make the film.

The hip-hop track was written and performed by several singers living in Cuba and Miami. Its title means “Homeland and Life" — a critical poke at the Cuban regime slogan “Patria o Muerte,” or “Homeland or Death.” Its chorus tells the island’s dictatorship “ya se acabó” — Your time is up.

Two of “Patria y Vida’s” composers — Maykel Osorbo and Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara — are in jail in Cuba now for their roles in the song.

Tim Padgett is the Americas Editor for WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida. Contact Tim at tpadgett@wlrnnews.org
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