t’s been nearly 50 years since Mocedades, the iconic Spanish group, made the unlikely rise to top 10 sensation on the Billboard Hot 100 with their global, all-Spanish hit “Eres Tú.”
It was 1974, and “Eres Tú,” performed in the Eurovision song contest, managed to pierce the barrier of language with its ethereal melody and the lush vocal harmonies of sisters Izaskun, Amaya and Estíbaliz Uranga.
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The sound became emblematic, powering Mocedades through the decades and past several changes in its original three-woman, three-man lineup.
Now, Mocedades is poised for yet another restart, with a series of releases where the new iteration of the group joins forces with stars from around the world, for re-recorded versions of some of their classic songs.
When I heard the results I thought, “Why hadn’t we done this before?”
The first of these, an EP titled Infinito, is out May 20 (Fonovisa/Universal Music Mexico) and features duets with the likes of Ana Torroja, David Bisbal and Gloria Trevi. Production and arrangement of the new takes on old classics are courtesy of Jacobo Calderón — producer and composer son of Juan Carlos Calderón, the legendary songwriter who penned many of Mocedades’ biggest hits.
“Every time someone spoke to me about doing different arrangements for our songs. I was never convinced,” says Izaskun Uranga, who still sings in the group. “Then I finally saw myself recording [the songs] differently, and when I heard the results I thought, “Why hadn’t we done this before?”
Infinito includes an outstanding versión of “Amor de Hombre,” featuring Gloria Trevi. Emmanuel brings his distinctive vocals and style to to “Dónde Estás Corazón;” Arthur Hanlon’s sensitivity and virtuosic piano yield a beautiful versión of “Los Amantes;” Colombian band Morat brings “Sobreviviremos” to a new generation of listeners; Il Divo performs “Maitechu Mía;” and Ana Torroja closes the set with a poignant versión of the classic “Secretary.”
A big player in making the new recordings a reality is José Miguel González, who joined the group nearly a decade ago — and who since coming on board has been intent in keeping the group current and renovated. while staying close to its original essence. It was González who finally convinced them to take a fresh look at their material.
“When I say we’ve taken this as far as possible, I mean we’ve done it in a major way, with big stars, big arrangements, but made contemporary so that new generations will want to listen to the music of such an important group,” says González, who’s been working on the project for the past three years. “It’s been a very big challenge for the label, for the me and of course, for Jacobo Calderón, who rethought his father’s arrangements.”
For Calderón, who is known for his romantic music and grand arrangements, renewing songs that literally became anthems was huge pressure, especially considering his father wrote many of them. He preserved the essence and of course maintained a line in the vocal arrangements. But the musical arrangements are more rhythmic, more elaborate and sophisticated — “Secretaria,” sung by Torroja and with Mocedades providing the background vocals, is a gem — many performed with live symphony orchestra.
Calderón also wrote two original songs, which will be included in upcoming EPs.
Big stars, big arrangements, but made contemporary so that new generations will want to listen to the music of such an important group”
“It’s wonderful how Jacobo lived the relationship his dad had with Mocedades, and he reflects it in these songs,” says Uranga. “Recording them was very emotional. It was like living those moments with his dad in the studio again.”
With more than 30 artists coming in to record, several were set on performing the same song. But, says González, “there were so many to choose from, each of our guests eventually found their own.”
Upcoming EPs will feature the likes of Plácido Domingo, Carlos Rivera and Luciano Pereyra, among many others. Mocedades has also planned an “Infinito” tour that kicks off in Mexico in September and will travel through the U.S., Latin America and of course, Spain.