Eliut González remembers the goose bumps he felt when he stepped into a Jamaican studio founded by Bob Marley to record the first album by his reggae band, Cultura Profética.
"I was so excited, like a child," says González, the band's guitarist. "It sounded like we were dreaming [how] it would sound."
Spanish reggae may be somewhat common now, but when Cultura Profética formed in 1996 Puerto Rico, few musicians were playing it.
In Puerto Rico, most studios specialized in recording salsa and Latin music. But González and his bandmates wanted their first album to sound perfect, which is why they looked for a producer in Jamaica.
They had their airline tickets ready when they learned a fire had broken out in the studio they were set to record in. Instead, they were able to book time at Tuff Gong International studio, founded by Marley in 1965.
"It was destined for us," González says. "A lot of musicians would come to hang out. They couldn't believe that these kids from Puerto Rico were playing reggae so nice."
One of the Cultura Profética's first trips outside Puerto Rico was to a festival in Mexico in the late '90s. They were invited to play, but had to pay their way there. One year later, the festival paid their way.
"Sometimes, you got to believe in what you're doing. Nothing is going to come so freely," González says. "We just saved our money and went there and believed in what we were doing, and it really paid off."
Cultura Profética's lyrics often address environmental, romantic and positive themes, but they also have songs about social equality.
González says he wants their music to speak to future generations, just as Bob Marley's songs are still current today.
"Reggae music speaks a lot [about] spirituality, and it has a lot of cultural baggage," he says. "We are talking about things that are happening today, and maybe it can affect the future. That's what our name is all about."
Cultura Profética will perform 8 p.m. Saturday, July 26, at 3045 N. Federal Highway, in Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-564-1074 or go to CultureRoom.net.
firstname.lastname@example.org, @babicorb or 954-356-4710