Diego Puerta, who performs sometimes sweet, sometimes salty folk pop under the name Dromedarios Mágicos, is almost as well-known for his clever covers of songs by other Latinx indie artists as he is for his originals. When the Chihuahua-bred Mexican singer-songwriter dropped by the Remezcla offices in late October, he brought his ukulele, the better to regale us with a take on María y José’s “Ultra,” a cover he’s been known to do live. (You can also hear it on his SoundCloud page.) Puerta’s acoustic version flips the electronic track with rapped lyrics and almost turns it into a corrido. Or maybe it reveals that it was a corrido all along.
This clip of that impromptu performance captures a simpler, pre-election moment that seems ages ago now, but his choice of song feels eerily timely. “Ultra” is about a robbery that goes awry and ends in a bloodbath. It perfectly evokes those moments of horrible lucidity we all encounter sometimes, the ones where you are forced to watch everything slide sideways, seemingly in slow motion. Though it came out in early 2013, it sums up almost-over 2016 remarkably well. Adding another layer of gloom, it was only a few months ago that Tony Gallardo, the Tijuanense electronic producer behind María y José, announced the long-running ruidosón project was coming to an end. Though Gallardo is still making music under his own name, it was one more sad goodbye in a year that had more than enough of them.
Despite all that, there’s something cheery about the sunny way Puerta renders “Ultra.” Whatever he’s singing about, he has that effect on listeners. You have to smile. We recommend you take a deep breath, say one last goodbye to this year (and María y José), watch the video, and then slowly turn to face whatever music is coming our way next.