The Puerto Rican star brought “El Choli” Coliseum vocals to this intimate New York City performance on Tuesday night.
Kany García stepped onto the small, platform stage assembled at the Manhattan Penthouse to a surprising barrage of applause. Surprising, only because of its immediate intensity. With no more than a hundred people in the room—many of whom were cozied up on chaises, leaning on columns, or taking up makeshift seats on couch arms, like myself—an applause that loud from so few can only mean one thing.
Kany García is beloved, and to witness her perform is a treat that nobody in that room would come to take for granted.
We were gathered at the penthouse to celebrate Kany García’s new Soy Yo En Vivo HBO Latino special, which debuted on October 4 and is now available for streaming across all HBO platforms. For García—who already happens to be a three-time Latin Grammy award winner, two-time Grammy nominee, and a renowned fixture in Latin Pop—her Soy Yo En Vivo show marks a particularly significant moment in her career. The HBO special immortalizes her sold-out “Soy Yo” tour date in San Juan, Puerto Rico’s José Miguel Agrelot Coliseum.
Selling out the Coliseum, or “El Choli” as it’s affectionately dubbed after its namesake’s most famous character, comes with the same pride as filling New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Yet on García’s island of Puerto Rico, reaching El Choli is also a thing of tradition. You play at El Choli once you’re well on your way to international stardom. If her HBO special wasn’t enough to prove that, then Kany García’s performance Tuesday night certainly did.
Before her guests, García took scope of the space with eyes that were both starry and sure. She tenderly thanked us for being there with her, as if we were no different in number than her 18,500 attendees at El Choli. This brand of humility set the tone for the rest of the night, where García also sat for questions from topics as far ranging as social media to LGBTQ rights (Kany came out in 2016 by publicly announcing her relationship with her girlfriend.) The brief Q&A, which was conducted in Spanish, featured quotes on García’s preferred activist topics, including domestic violence.
“Latina women have been taught within a very machismo society. There is still so much left to do,” she began. “Violence is something that has become normalized—people think it’s ok to go out in the street and make any comment they want. Some might say, “Oh, but that’s normal.” None of that is normal. None of it should be normal. And until we come together and say it’s wrong, it won’t stop,” García explained.
It’s this same intensity and care that propels García’s music. Following her Q&A, her audience listened to Kany’s hits and deep cuts, like “Para Siempre,” “Soy Yo,” and “Confieso” for the next hour—ultimately leaving us all cheering, otro más for an encore—to which she graciously, as ever, obliged.
Kany García: Soy En Vivo aired on HBO Latino on October 4 and is now available to stream on all platforms (HBO GO/HBO NOW/On Demand).