Vivo, keep the beat, keep the beat

Andrés and Vivo in Havana in Vivo

Vivo, the animated musical about a singing kinkajou (or honey bear) is cute and fun. The music is Cuban or Cuban rap, and the animations are bright and funny. This cheerful quest story is streaming on Netflix.

The music for Vivo was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who also voiced the character Vivo. After Hamilton, In the Heights, and now Vivo, I think it’s safe to say that Lin-Manuel Miranda revolutionized the American musical. He’s set it to new rhythms including rap and Latin beats.

The story is about the kinkajou and his pal Andrés (Juan de Marcos González). The two of them perform and play for tips in a square in Havana.

Lin-Manuel Miranda revolutionized the American musical.

One day a letter arrives from Marta Sandoval (Gloria Estefan) inviting Andrés to attend her final concert in Miami. The two used to perform together in Havana. Andrés never got up the courage to tell Marta he loved her, but he wrote her one last song before she left. Except she left without knowing about the song. Now she’s famous and he’s excited to realize she remembers him.

But before he was to leave for Miami and the concert, he died in his sleep.

Gabi finds Vivo in her luggage

Andrés family from Florida – Rosa (Zoe Saldana) and her unconventional daughter Gabi (Ynairaly Simo) – come to Cuba. Vivo decides he must deliver that last love song to Marta. He hides in Gabi’s luggage.

One problem. Gabi lives in Key West, not Miami.

Gabi and Vivo in the Everglades

Gabi and Vivo bond (eventually – it isn’t easy) and Gabi decides to help deliver the song. The majority of the film from that point on is the heroic journey from Key West to Miami. It involves bicycles, barges, homemade rafts, detours through the Everglades and all sorts of dangers. The ancient slip of paper where the song was written flew away many times. It felt like this part of the film lasted much too long, but the film was actually only 1 hour and 35 minutes long.

Marta in her final performance in Vivo

Meanwhile in Miami, Marta is upset that Andrés isn’t there. She sits crying in her dressing room and tells everyone she won’t be able to perform. She loved him, too.

Of course, spoiler alert, the film is going to have a happy ending. I’ll leave the suspense of how all the obstacles were overcome for you to discover if you watch this magical musical.

the poster for Vivo

Here’s a glimpse of what the film has to offer. You can find the soundtrack at Amazon. (affiliate link)

It’s charming. It’s fun. The music is good. What are you waiting for?

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