Hear Me Now: Fofé y Los Fetiches

PHOTO: Fofé y Los Fetiches singing a cappellaPlayJessica Blank
WATCH Hear Me Now: Fofe y los Fetiches

The voice of José Luis Abreu, aka Fofé, has been lauded as one of Puerto Rico's national treasures.

The singer-songwriter led two of the island's most vibrant indie rock bands of the 90s and early aughts, Manjar de los Dioses and Circo, and is now back with solo project Fofé y los Fetiches (Fofé and the Fetishes.)

After some successful but frustrating years working with big labels, Fofé has decided to take a DIY approach to his newest musical pursuit, self-releasing the album "Lujo Eterno" in January under his own "label" Care Crica Records…literally "Pussyface" Records.

"It's an expression that is used in northwest Puerto Rico, in Isabela where I'm from," he says of the original slang phrase "Cara de crica." "When I ordered the albums to be made, I needed a label. And in the spirit of making fun of the snobbery of record labels, and the dying music industry, I named my label Care Crica."

It's the perfect timing for Fofé to go on his own and in his own terms: right now Puerto Rico's indie scene is buoyant with talent that is garnering acclaim abroad.

"The influence of Davila 666 is very noticeable, a lot of artists from the Anglo world have come to Puerto Rico to play," says Fofé of his friends, members of the Black Lips-like garage band that made it big in the U.S. and Mexico during the past three years and jump-started this current indie Puerto Rican wave.

And when artists from the States or Latin America come to town, including Amanda Palmer and Alex Anwandter, Fofé serves as host and indie sage statesman in San Juan. "My house continues to be as always, a full house. It's like Andy Warhol's factory," he says laughing.

We can only imagine the artistic debauchery that takes place inside his apartment, known for its red door... and which might've been the inspiration for the song "Tras la puerta de color" ("behind the colorful door") that he performed for us with his powerful voice in the streets of New York City on a recent summer afternoon.