Reyna Tropical on how Manu Chao, BiD/Seu Jorge, Robin S and more inspired her debut album ‘Malegría’

Los Angeles musician and She Shreds founder Fabi Reyna has led Reyna Tropical since the late 2010s, beginning as a duo, and sadly becoming a solo project since the passing of partner Nectali “Sumohair” Diaz in 2022. After a series of singles and EPs, Malegr​í​a is Reyna Tropical’s inviting, transportive full-length debut that blends loop-based grooves with Fabi’s textural guitarwork and lush, breathy harmonies. The album deftly incorporates musical styles from all over the Southern hemisphere, including Congolese, Peruvian, Colombian grooves, all stitched together seamlessly through atmospheric interludes. It’s a wonderful album and you can listen to the whole thing below.

For more on the album, Fabi made us a list of songs that influenced Malegr​í​a — including one song that gave the album its title — by BiD/Seu Jorge, Dennis Brown, Robin S, Manu Chao, Cafe Tacvba, Sumohair, and more. Read her commentary and listen to a playlist with all the songs below.


“Love Has Found Its Way” – Dennis Brown
During the summer of 2022 I spent the whole summer falling in love to this song. It really reveals my cheesy, romantic side and I’ll take any chance I get to lean into that. Musically, it’s so smooth and summery and I love driving in the car, with the windows down, releasing my hands into the wind.

“Ojala que llueva café” – Cafe Tacvba
My mom is probably the biggest Cafe Tacvba fan so first of all this song reminds me of going on road trips with her. I love the San Jarocho sounds in this song and it’s probably the first time I got to hear the folk sounds of this music primarily from Veracruz. This one will always be one of my all time favorites.

“Show Me Love” – Robin S
Another song that I listened to on road trips with my mom (we were on the road a lot throughout my life.) Beyond that it’s a song that I heard often in clubs dancing until 6am as a growing queer baby. The bubbly synth in this song is iconic and you can hear a similar sound in Conexion Ancestral from our new album.

“Malegria” – Manu Chao
This song is how the word “Malegría” came into existence. Manu Chao has always been a huge part of Reyna Tropical’s story, especially for my old bandmate, Sumo, who was obsessed with him. I actually didn’t hear this song, or even knew it existed until after he passed away but when I heard it I felt like it was the catalyst for everything this record could embody.

“La Verdolaga” – P18
La Verdolaga is originally written by legendary Colombian folk singer Toto La Momposina about a plant, Verdolaga (Purslane) which is widely considered as a weed in the states but extremely imprtant to the nourishment and history of African and Indigenous resilience. I chose this remix because I love reggae and these two worlds merging is the best.

Santhosam – Priya Ragu
In general I think Priya Ragu is incredible and I love everything she releases. I love the sound bytes mixed in with percussion and her vocals weaving together. It’s so good!!

“Santa Lucia” – Sumohair
This song is by my bandmate who passed away in 2022. It’s one of my favorites of his solo music for all the samples it includes and I love the beat and how it builds. I can just visualize the world that this lives in, it’s like watching a movie.

“Marcory Gazoil” – Soukous Stars
A lot of my guitar influence comes from the great Congo Basin in West Africa, in particular from the genre known as Soukous or Seben. I love the guitar hook in this song so much and just feel like it’s a beautiful bright breeze for moving softly to.

“El Aguajal” – Los Shapis
I’m obsessed with the guitar part in this song. This one and Cariño by Los Hijos del Sol are the songs that shifted my style and trajectory as a guitarist. I love how the guitars in these songs sound like birds, not just tonally but also in the way they respond to the vocals. Peruvian cumbia is one of my favorite genres.

“E Depois” – BiD, Seu Jorge
This song is so seeeexxxxxyyyyyyy. That sample in the chorus gets me everytime. The slowness of the song just reminds me of dripping water and I love it.

Reyna Tropical will be on tour starting next week and plays Brooklyn’s Public Records on April 6. All dates:

Reyna Tropical Tour Dates:
Thu. April 4 – Los Angeles, CA @ Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Sat. April 6 – Brooklyn, NY @ Public Records
Wed. May 1 – Wilmington, NC @ Greenfield Lake Amphitheater *
Thu. May 2 – Asheville, NC @ Rabbit Rabbit *
Fri. May 3 – Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium *
Mon. May 6 – St. Louis, MO @ The Pageant *
Tur. May 7 – Kansas City, MO @ The Truman *
Thu. May 9 – Des Moines, IA @ Val Air BAllroom *
Fri. May 10 – Indianapolis, IA @ Egyptian Room at Old National Centre *
Sat. May 11 – Chicago, IL @ The Salt Shed *
Tue. May 14 – Milwaukee, WI @ The Riverside Theater *
Wed. May 15 – Madison, WI @ The Sylvee *
Fri. May 17 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue *
Sat. May 18 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue *
Mon. May 20 – Fargo, ND @ Fargo Brewing Company Outdoors *
Wed. May 22 – Bozeman, MT @ The ELM *
Thu. May 23 – Spokane, WA @ Knitting Factory *
Fri. May 24 – Carnation, WA @ Remlinger Farms *
Sat. June 1- Durham, NC @ Good Moon
Sat. July 27- Newport RI @ Newport Folk Festival

* = w/ Portugal. The Man