Juanes, Colombian singer-songwriter, winner of 26 Latin Grammys, 2 Anglo Grammys, 11 MTV awards, among many others, returned to Belgium on September 14 at the Koninklijk Circus in Brussels as part of the Europe Tour 2023.

The audience enjoyed a presentation that lasted 2 hours and showcased a total of 22 songs including his hits “La Camisa Negra” and “A Dios le pido”. The concert setlist is a trip down memory lane of his more than 20-year musical career, as well as an introduction of 2 songs from his new album: “Vida cotidiana”.

Those of us who have followed Juanes' career from the beginning know that he started in the musical group Ekhymosis, which between 1988 and 1997 managed to release 6 albums with Juanes as composer, lead vocals and guitarist. Ekhymosis went through a musical transition from the first album classified as Thrash-Metal to the sixth one, which cannot be boxed in a single genre since it is amazingly a fusion of several.

Perhaps to commemorate the nostalgia of their beginnings, the song selection featured one of the most revered ones from Ekymosis: “La Tierra”. This song is a beautiful amalgamation of rock elements with variations of Colombian folklore – something that was both revolutionary and controversial in 1997. Until then it was unthinkable to mix rock with traditional local sounds of Latin American folklore such as “Guasca”, “Carrilera”, “Cumbia”, among other rhythms.

Throughout his career, Juanes has been paying tribute to several icons of the various traditional genres through the adaptation of their songs to his signature fusion style. Europa Tour 2023 includes: “Sin medir distancias”, a Vallenato from the greatest legend of this genre: Diomedez Diaz, and “Rebelión”, a Salsa that is undoubtedly the masterpiece of Joe Arroyo.

The venue for the stop in Belgium, the Koninklijk Circus, was perfect for the occasion. It was beautiful, cozy and with a charm that gave the concert an intimate touch allowing a special closeness between the artist and the public. It was the ideal space for one of the highlights of the evening: Juanes coming down the stage to sing the song “Para tu amor” surrounded by fans while playing his acoustic guitar.

With its success in Brussels, “El Parce” (as he’s also known) proved he still knows how to delight people of various ages, from all over the world, with his music and lyrics. Despite commercial pressures, he continues to uphold his motto: “Se habla español” singing only in his mother tongue; of course, with the exceptions of the covers he made of Metallica, his favourite band, which he so fondly attributes his inspiration of venturing into music when he was a teenager.

Juanes is both a symbol of Spanish music and an ambassador of Latin American music. A special ambassador who represents simultaneously the modern and the traditional, even merged with his beloved and omnipresent Rock. Perhaps, these fusions of the non-fusionable are just part of his permanent message of harmonious social coexistence.

It was an emotional event, in which the public sang, danced and applauded his diverse musical journey. An evening in which Juanes touched the sensitive fibers of the attendees when he talked about personal topics such as being parents and the difficulties of coexistence in this modern world. He highlighted that in this country is so much multiculturalism that we can meet people from all over the world and everyone can sit together singing with one voice. And indeed, that night, numerous flags from various countries were being waved.

From all the other special memories I have from the concert, I keep his words in my heart “Those flags are beautiful but remember they are just colors, we are all the same”.

“Juan Esteban Aristizabal, from Medellin Colombia to the world”

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