5 Latin American Songs You Should Be Listening to Yesterday

1) Macusa by Buena Vista Social Club

Tú me quisiste, Macusa…

This song is off the album “Lost and Found,” a “a mixture of leftover tracks from the Egrem studio sessions…and live performances” (Wikipedia). Like many Latin American music aficionados I was already familiar with the Buena Vista Social Club album, but hadn’t heard this song. This song embodies the alegre spirit of the cubanos. Cuba (tied with Alaska), is the most special place I’ve ever traveled to. Sometimes a trip should be measured not by how much fun you had at the time, or how stimulated you were, but by how long its memories last. My memories of Cuba, looking out over the Strait of Florida, feeling the wind on the malecón, dodging rainstorms look for WiFi at Hotel Presidente, and swimming behind the Karl Marx Theater, will never leave.

2) Veinte años by Buena Vista Social Club

Que te importe que te ame
Si tú no me quieres ya?

What does it matter if I love you
If you don’t love me anymore?

This is my go-to song for serenading people, even if that person is just me, sitting alone on my couch.

3) Tú sí sabes quererme by Natalia Lafourcade

Ha pasado tanto tiempo….

So much time has passed.

Indeed, so much time has passed. Almost two months have already passed since I arrived in GDL. It’s already March!

4) La gozadera by Gente de Zona ft. Marc Anthony

Miamo me lo confirmó…

Marc Anthony has made a huge (see: moderate) comeback in the last few years, mostly because of this song. This song has a special dance where you move your head in a circle and try to become nauseous. My favorite part of the video are the myriad dancers dressed and body-painted to look like the myriad flags of Latin America. This song IS Latin America, though of course not as much as this song (which is first on the list of honorable mentions).

5) Eléctrico by Calle 13

Algo eléctrico, energético…

If there’s one song on this list I can almost guarantee you won’t like, it’s this one. This is because the opening beat is a beat discordant, and because the song is a bit monotonous. But then comes 0:49. The beat in the background. And if you don’t start moving your head a little bit, or convulsing, there’s something wrong with you. Or with me.

Bonus: Dance Hall Days by Wang Chung

Take your baby by the hand…

Not exactly a Latin American song in that it’s not Latin American at all. Details. I think my favorite part of this video is actually the guy’s outfit. Look at the pleats on those khakis. That sweater. You can’t get pleats like that without trying.

Shane Ryan has a nice piece in Paste Magazine about how these lyrics are “secretly horrifying,” though I don’t think you need the word “secretly” in that title.

The more I watch this the pleated khakis might not actually be the best part. The best part might be how he says “Take your baby by the hand…” at the beginning and MIMES the action of taking your proverbial baby by her proverbial hand. As if we didn’t get it.

Have a favorite song in Spanish? Portuguese? Let me know in the comments. 

A big thanks Jenny Newman for supporting this “bloog” and to all February Patrons. I’m now up to $25 and plan on using this to take a small outing of some kind this Sunday, March 4th. Sponsor today to contribute to the April trip.

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Sunday Night Thoughts #4

rooftops guadalajara

I’m sitting in my living room in GDL listening to this song:

And I recommend you do the same while you read this post, because then it will be like we shared something, like we were together, even if it was just for a moment.

Sundays are my boring day. I know what they say: There’s no such thing as boredom, only boring people. Or at least I’m pretty sure they say this. I don’t know who “they” are. I think “they” drive Subarus and do a lot of rock climbing. Because actually the sticker I’ve seen on some Subaru Outbacks (and it’s always Subaru Outbacks) is: If you’re bored, you’re boring.

Well, I can’t help it. I’m boring.

Today I did the following: Went to Starbucks, worked my Instagram job, and also tried to do another job for the same company. But this time it was a speech recording task that required two native speakers of English. And since I don’t know any English speakers here, I tried to do both people myself. If you’ve never tried to have a conversation with yourself in which you pretend to be two completely different people, talking in completely different accents, I highly recommend it. It’s a one-way ticket to the loony bin. At first I was “Ed, from Birmingham,” but my English accent started sounding a bit Kiwi, and besides I have no idea what people from Birmingham sound like. I then pivoted and became me and also “Ed, from just outside Nashville, systems engineer.” The problem is I don’t know what people from Nashville sound like, so I think my accent was Texan. Also, I have no idea what systems engineers do. Not a clue. So I asked “Ed,” (aka myself) “What do systems engineers do anyway?” and “Ed” tried to explain but for the life of him couldn’t.  In the end I gave up on this endeavor. I’ll have to solicit the help of one of my co-workers at the English school where I work, which means I’ll have to split the money. Unless one of you can explain to me what a systems engineer does.

In the afternoon I went to La Teteria and drank a glass of Lapsang Souchong, ate a chocolate brownie and worked on my novel. I asked the waiter where he was from, because I was pretty sure he was French, and he said, “Argentina.” Talk about a curve ball. Talk about a knuckleball. Talk about a split finger fastball. Talk about a spitball. Talk about a Jamie Moyer changeup. We talked for a few minutes and I told him some of the places I’d been in Argentina, what I was doing in GDL, and he told me why he was in GDL. I liked talking to this young Argentinian man, though I’m still not fully convinced he’s Argentinian. I’m now convinced he’s a young Frenchman masquerading as an Argentinian/Mexican.

I’ve moved on from that first song. I’m now listening to this song and suggest you do the same:

Are you listening? Don’t lie to me. Put headphones in if you have to. I’ll give you a second.


Where was I?

Ah, yes, food. I have to go to Soriana now, the local grocery store, and buy my staple dinner: Cup o’ Noodles, a red delicious apple from Washington State that makes me a bit nostalgic every time I buy one, and an empanada.

I hope you have wonderful Sunday night, and a wonderful week.