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In what may be a first, in recent memory at least, Spanish-speaking artists are playing an important role in the programming surrounding the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

Tonight’s (Jan. 18) United We Serve: A Celebration of the National MLK Day of Service featured a performance by Mexican star Alejandro Fernández, who sang “Decepciones” entirely in Spanish; a greeting, also in Spanish, by Fher Olvera, lead singer of rock band Maná; and a bilingual performance by Chesca. (The event can be replayed in the stream below.)

Their inclusion was, according to organizers, an attempt to reflect the “America United” theme of the inauguration.

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“With the help of artists like Alejandro Fernández and Maná, we are commemorating the rich diversity in our country, and ensuring that Spanish-dominant households are able to see themselves reflected in the inaugural activities,” said PIC communications director Pili Tobar in a press release.

“More than political, the voice and power of Maná is about humanity,” said Olvera, who has a long history of supporting voter registration and migrant rights. “Today we thank everyone who voted for a better environment, for justice for migrants in the United States, and the well-being of the entire planet.”

The highlight was Fernández’s mariachi performance from his hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico, accompanied by his live band.
Earlier, Puerto Rican Chesca performed a bilingual version of “The Change (El Cambio),” written by Diane Warren, and with Warren at the piano.

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