Telenovelas are known for their drama. The tears, the slapping, the screaming “desgraciado!” at someone – it’s all part of what makes them so great. Now, all that drama is coming to a new medium.
Podcast producer Gisele Regatao wanted to bring the telenovela level of extra-ness to the podcasting world while also bringing some much needed diversity to the art form.
CREDIT: Producer Gisele Regatao. Photo credit: Mark Scheffler
She managed to do all of that with “Celestial Blood“/“Sangre Celestial” the first-ever bilingual podcast on KCRW, with episodes released in both English and Spanish. The eight-part “radionovela,” created with KCRW, tells the story of Sol and Mundo Lucero, brother and sister twins who travel to Mexico from New York for their estranged father’s funeral. Once there, they discover they have nine long-lost siblings who help them learn family secrets about their father and themselves. The story was written by playwrights Mariana Carreño King and Inda Craig-Galván, and is narrated in both languages by actress Kate del Castillo.
“I’m Brazilian. We have produced some of the best telenovelas in the world,” says Regatao. “I grew up watching them. I’ve always loved it, but also found they were too melodramatic or too intense. So I want to create something inspired by telenovelas as an homage to the genre, but with a twist. Something funny, contemporary and tongue-in-cheek.”
The producer, who’s worked as a journalist for 20 years, says podcasts are the perfect medium for this kind of storytelling and can be easily accessible to the Latino and Hispanic market because they’re free, mobile and easy to stream.
While podcasting is slowly becoming more diverse in the voices and stories being told, Regatao says Latinos are still the minority, with very few podcasts reflecting their experience.
CREDIT: Kate del Castillo recording “Celestial Blood” at KCRW. Photo credit: Aaron Fallon
“A lot of my work in journalism is to make sure that different kinds of voices and people are being included, and we hear from them,” she says. “So I really wanted to create a podcast for a public that’s being ignored for the most part. My goal is to start a small revolution and bring more Latinos to the medium, and get more people to listen to them.”
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