Spring is here, and so is the music festival season. This past weekend, LATINA was in Mexico City for Festival Ceremonia. The one-day event highlighted Latin music artists across different genres. Our favorite performances included rising Dominican star Tokischa, Spanish rapper C. Tangana and Argentine singer Nicki Nicole.
This year, Festival Ceremonia moved from Toluca to Mexico City for the first time. It’s one of the biggest festivals in Mexico, and it boasts an inclusive lineup. Multiple loud and proud LGBTQ+ artists were invited to perform, including Tokischa, Mexican-American rapper Snow Tha Product, Venezuelan DJ Arca and up-and-coming singer Blue Rojo. Arca, who is a trans Latina woman, pulled in one of the biggest crowds of the night. She had the people moving to her progressive mixes as she whipped her hair in the DJ booth.
Like Arca, another producer that commanded a massive crowd was Tainy. The Puerto Rican hitmaker played a set that included the smashes he produced for Bad Bunny, Rauw Alejandro and J Balvin. Fellow Boricua singer Álvaro Diaz popped up as a surprise guest during Tainy’s set to sing “Problemón.” The two top-billed performers at the event this year were rap royalty Wu-Tang Clan and Rihanna’s boo A$AP Rocky. Here’s a list of the artists we enjoyed seeing live at Festival Ceremonia 2022.
Tokischa brought her Popola Tour to the Festival Ceremonia. Popola is Dominican slang for the word “vagina”. Despite boasting about her popola in most of her songs, Tokischa hit the stage in a dress that created the illusion of a nude male body. The singer was in full pop provocateur force and performed a selection of her euphoric hits. When dogs barking started to play over the speakers, she turned up the heat with the hot-and-heavy “Perra” from J Balvin’s Jose album. “Yo soy una perra en calor!” the crowd sang back to her. The people went especially wild for the flirty and fun anthem “Linda,” her collaboration with Rosalía. Tokischa gave the festival a healthy dose of Dominican dembow. Seeing her bring her sex-positive lyrics to life was an exhilarating and empowering highlight. Tokischa was giving big popola energy, and it was everything.
C. Tangana performed an abbreviated version of his Sin Cantar Ni Afinar Tour at this year’s festival. The Spanish singer and rapper experienced a global breakthrough this past year thanks to his “El Madrileño” album. He turned the stage into a movie set to bring the genre-bending LP to life. C. Tangana brought out a whole dinner table to sing “Los Tontos” with a team of musicians. People in the audience felt the flamenco music and clapped along with palmas. C. Tangana played a smooth operator as he moved through his sexy hits like “Demasiadas Mujeres” and “Tú Me Dejaste De Querer.” Argentine-Spanish singer Nathy Peluso appeared as a special guest to sing their bachata duet “Ateo.” Like in the provocative music video, the two singers also shared a sensual dance onstage. C. Tangana drew in a massive crowd that cheered him with: “Olé, olé, olé, ole! Pucho! Pucho!” Pucho is one of C. Tangana’s nicknames. His cinematic set was a phenomenal, five-star moment of the night.
Snow Tha Product
Currently on her Dale Gas Tour, Snow Tha Product came to Mexico City ready to burn the house down. The Mexican-American rapper brought the heat to the stage with a fiery performance of “BZRP Music Sessions #39,” her collaboration with Argentine producer Bizarrap. Snow Tha Product also unleashed her refreshing Spanglish flow while spitting the bars to her recent hit “Wassap.” While trying to explain how proud she is to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community in Spanish, Snow Tha Product quickly shifted to English when she couldn’t find the right words. “I’m bisexual!” she shouted over the microphone in a lighthearted moment. Snow Tha Product then performed her empowering anthem, “Bilingue.” She revealed that the song speaks cheekily about her experience as a bisexual woman with bicultural roots in Mexico and the U.S. The future of Latin rap is alive and well in Snow Tha Product’s hands.
Ahead of her performance at Coachella, Nicki Nicole brought her Parte De Mí Tour to Mexico City. The Argentine singer gave a whole pop star production during her nearly hour-long set. Her hits were rock-infused for the stage, including the swaggering “Colocao” and rambunctious “Mala Vida.” Heads were rocking and thrashing in the crowd during Nicole’s electrifying performances. She flexed the versatility of her artistry while singing the reggae-infused “Verte” that had people swaying side to side. During her set, there were also charming moments when she plugged into her pop side in the Cardigans-esque “Formentera” and the funky “Baby.” Nicole later brought out her boyfriend, Spanish rapper Trueno, as a special guest. Together, they performed “Mamichula” and shared an adorable kiss onstage. She also sang her cumbia song “Otra Noche,” which won over the Mexican crowd. “Nicki, hermana, ya eres Mexicana!” they shouted out to her.
Another Festival Ceremonia performer headed for Coachella is Natanael Cano. The Mexican singer-songwriter brought the fire behind his Corridos Tumbados hits to life. He walked to the stage with a big smile that flashed the platinum grill in his mouth. Though his setup was straightforward, Cano commanded his massive audience with his devil-may-care attitude. As he ripped through corrido after corrido, he playfully flipped off a drone camera and casually smoked a blunt on stage. A tender moment during his set was when Cano serenaded the audience with the rock-infused “Diamantes.” With each song, he made sure to get as close to his fans as possible, even passing one of them his blunt. The crowd erupted when Cano performed his heartbreak anthem, “Amor Tumbado.” He also previewed his upcoming album “Natakong” with a performance of his heartfelt trap song “Estrellas.”
Blue Rojo made his music festival debut at Festival Ceremonia. Though the Mexican-American artist was one of the first to perform, he put on a spectacular show. While in a metallic wig, Blue Rojo saged the stage with a religious thurible. During his performance of “Superstar,” he made a dramatic wig reveal for his buzzed hair. Blue Rojo’s operatic vocals sounded amazing as he sang emotional songs like “Después De La Pandemia Volví A Ser Católiko” and “Perdedor Mistikal.” The artist brought to life that heartache of loving a straight man who didn’t love him back from his “Solitario” album. Blue shined as a pop star as he sang his electro-pop anthem “No Te Kiero Olvidar,” which had the crowd singing along. He also performed a new remix of the fan-favorite track “Soy Tu Payaso Papi” that had the crowd moving. This was a strong festival debut for the gay singer-songwriter who will continue to reshape Latin pop music.
Another music festival debut came during Selene’s awe-inspiring performance. Lizeth Selene broke out this year as a star on Netflix’s “Rebelde” reboot. The Mexican artist’s star is rising as both an actress and singer. She hit the stage in a biker outfit reminiscent of Aaliyah’s “More Than a Woman” video. Also, like Aaliyah, Selene brought lightness to the stage as she glided through her Latin R&B songs. During the reggaeton-infused “Pa Darle,” fans sang along in the audience. “This is my first performance,” Selene said in Spanish in awe. “I didn’t expect anyone to sing back.” Instead, Selene had the crowd moving with her when she sang the sensual track “Pegao.” She also slowed things and treated fans to a bolero that hasn’t come out, presumably titled “Nada Personal.” Selene’s charming set was a breath of fresh air.