Today would have been Gustavo Cerati‘s birthday. The void he left behind has remained and it’s likely to stay that way, but the same can’t be said about the staying power of his music. Cerati left an undeniable mark on this world, especially in Latin America, where his songs will be played for generations to come.
Instead of getting existential and philosophical, we decided to celebrate part of the man’s oeuvre by looking at some of his best collaborations. These collabs demonstrate a special side of his artistic persona, each one visiting a different place in Cerati’s soul and amplifying that quality for the duration of each track. Needless to say, this is an eclectic selection. This list focuses mostly on one-off pairings; that’s why there is no mention of his bands Plan V (who made a collaborative record with Warp Records’ classic The Black Dog) and Ocio (with Flavius E.), or even Colores Santos, the album he made with then-Soda Stereo collaborator Daniel Melero.
Of course, he played with plenty more musicians, so feel free to share your favorites if they aren’t mentioned here.
With Andy Summers - “Tráeme La Noche”
Almost fresh from Soda Stereo’s initial breakup, a Rock En Español tribute to The Police was released, titled Outlandos D’Americas. Two of the three Policemen collaborated on the record. Guitarist Andy Summers accompanies Cerati on the album opener, an unstoppable version of “Bring On The Night.”
With Fito Páez & Charly García - “Puente,” “Cerca De La Revolución,” and “Ciudad De Pobres”
Part of the charm of the initial wave of Argentine rock in the 80s was that it not only spawned a ton of unique voices, but that these people were aware of each other’s talent, and could often be seen together. Having said this, the sight of three of the most iconic figures of the scene playing songs from each of their repertoires was a very special affair. Luckily, it’s preserved on video.
With Spinetta - “Bajan”
If playing with Fito and Charly wasn’t enough, Cerati got to jam with another Argentine legend, Luis Alberto Spinetta. During the Las Bandas Eternas Del Flaco Tour, Spinetta played stadiums with a career-spanning setlist that included Cerati on “Bajan.” Cerati described it as a dream come true, since it represented playing with one of his Argentine idols.
With Shakira - “Día Especial”
To some, this pairing could be very surprising, but in reality, Cerati frequently collaborated with Shakira. Cerati produced, wrote, and played on her solo albums, starting with both volumes of Fijación Oral, and even toured with her as a guitarist. During those tours, they would usually perform a duet, either one from her then current albums or “En La Ciudad De La Furia.” “Día Especial” is a highlight, both on the record and live. Here you can watch them play it at the Live Earth Fest.
With Telefunka - “Electroshock”
Soda Stereo was a very eclectic band, and Cerati dabbled in everything from intelligent electronic music to chamber pop in his solo endeavors, but he rarely got down on the dance floor, plain and simple. This little-heard collaboration with the Mexican electrofunk band Telefunka proves that Cerati could make booty-shaking music if he wanted. Furthermore, it’s testament to the fact that Cerati was a man with infinite possibilities and talent to spare, no matter the setting.
With Andrea Echeverri - “En La Ciudad De La Furia”
“En La Ciudad De La Furia” is perhaps his most famous collaboration. For their performance on MTV Unplugged (immortalized on the Comfort y Música Para Volar album), Soda Stereo tweaked much of their back catalog to make something truly special. The most vivid rearrangement was “En La Ciudad De La Furia,” which offers an almost feline strut and provocative undertone thanks to the sensual interaction between the frontman and the Aterciopelados singer. Seriously, try to keep your windows from steaming while playing this – you’ll fail.