Draco Rosa

Published on January 2nd, 2019

Draco Rosa

A multiple Grammy and Latin Grammy Award winner, acclaimed singer-songwriter, actor and two-time cancer ass-kicker, Draco Rosa is returning to rock Miami on the new leg of a tour promoting his latest album, “Monte Sagrado.”

It’s difficult to talk about Rosa’s creative endeavors without mention of his complicated  and turbulent life, as the two are so intricately entwined. “Monte Sagrado,” which translates to “Sacred Mountain,” lays bare the challenges faced by this boy band alumnus turned rock en español star as illness threatened his work and life.

The album is Rosa’s first since 2013’s “Vida,” and he has offered it as a kind of sister album to his influential 1996 release, “Vagabundo.” Garnering little critical acclaim on its release, “Vagabundo” (released when the artist was recording as Robi Draco Rosa) has finally claimed its proper place, being named to Billboard magazine’s list of “The 50 Greatest Latin Albums of the Last 50 Years.”

Rosa burst into view in 1984 as a member of golden-era Menudo. Though he left the Latin kid-pop ensemble just three years later to chart his own path, he maintained an important relationship with a fellow Menudo graduate, the King of Latin Pop himself, Ricky Martin. Through bouts of depression, in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde fashion, Rosa’s music-factory alias Ian Blake was born — Blake being a credited author of Martin’s teen heartthrob hits “She Bangs,” “Livin’ La Vida Loca” and “Maria.”

But Rosa and his restless alter egos were far from done: The Nuyorican rocker had ambitious solo albums, production credits, acting gigs, and entrepreneurial projects in and out of music still to come.

Rosa told Billboard that “Monte Sagrado” was first conceived in a somber tone reflective of his second bout of cancer. But a recovery that also buoyed Rosa’s psyche steered the album in a livelier direction. Rosa re-seasoned the songs with a dollop of distortion, a pinch of naivety, a layer of experimentation and more than a dash of Pique. Themes of rebirth and resurrection infuse “Monte Sagrado,” just as they have Rosa’s entire life and ever-evolving career.

Draco Rosa performs 8pm January 6 at The Fillmore Miami Beach at Jackie Gleason Theatre. dracorosa.com ~ Freddie Zandt

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