March 14, 2008 / 11:20 PM / 12 years ago

Secular meets sacred in genre-bridging Latin hit

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - God sings a duet with an everyday sinner, and the Latin urban and Latin Christian worlds collide, in “Me Arrodillo Ante Ti” (“I Kneel Before You”), by Divino Featuring Abraham.

The single is from “La Iglesia de la Calle” (“The Church of the Street”), a concept album released in fall 2007 on Luar/Machete that pairs secular and religious artists on reggaeton and hip-hop tracks.

Pop and urban stations alike have picked up the song, a pop ballad co-written by frequent reggaeton collaborator Divino and Puerto Rico-based Christian artist Abraham.

Divino (real name: Daniel Velazquez) sings the part of a man declaring his need for God. “It’s a song that I did thinking about myself and the people who don’t practice religion but do have faith, and who look at the heavens every once in a while and say, ‘I’m sorry. I’m here.”‘

Divino and Abraham are signed to Luar Music, which is distributed through Machete. Abraham (real name: Abraham Velazquez, no relation to Divino), who sings the part of God, hopes the hit will get those who don’t normally listen to Christian music to open their ears.

With heavy ready play in Puerto Rico, the song jumps 11 places this week to No. 32 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart.

In Puerto Rico, “there’s more churches than McDonald’ses,” says Luar Music president Raul Lopez, whose company has developed such reggaeton acts as Angel & Khriz. “It’s a humongous market that we have ignored for years.”

The song’s success so far is proof that “people are not only hearing the message, but they’re getting (it),” Abraham says.

Reuters/Billboard

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