LFP Presents: Love Lockdown - Romantic Latin Music for 2021
With Valentine's day within a week, I think it is fair to say that it is going to be a little different this year...
2021... Reconnecting in a Pandemic
In exploring ways to re-connect, we want to start writing and speaking directly to you with a Journal and Playlist, because although times have changed, we think staying connected with our communities is how we all come out better than we were before the pandemic started.
It's been 9 months since non-essential businesses shut their doors for the first time in March 2020, and I think it's about time to start re-establishing connections we lost because of COVID.
Since October, when I started working at the store, I've stopped seeing friends and family. When I'm not at the store, it's just me, in my room working, listening to music, playing video games, and talking to friends. Many things are different now in the way we communicate online, for example, video calls are standard with friends and family now, and when I'm online with friends we always have a playlist on shuffle in the background. It all feels normal at this point, even though I know that less than a year ago we lived in a different world.
However, what does not feel natural now is talking with people in-person. I'm finding myself stuttering and overall feeling less confident when speaking Spanish and although I don't feel the same when speaking English, I still feel as though I am not expressing myself to the best of my abilities.
This all brings me to the food for thought I want to leave you with... When we needed it most, online options were there to bridge the gap between distant friends and loved ones. We want to use some of the options available to us to show love and help you show love to those close to you. If any of you listen to music while you're doing work or hanging out with friends we want to be there to facilitate a mood, inspire thoughts, and add a little rhythm to your day.
For those of you who have been by our stall in the Hamilton Farmer's Market, you'd have quickly noticed how we are the loudest stall in the market! We would not be the same store or the same people behind the store without the music we listen to. Latin music isn't the only kind of music we listen to but it is what hits harder and reminds us of our childhoods.
Latin Love Songs in 2021
There are so many genres to to choose from, bachata, baladas, boleros, cumbia, reggaeton, norteñas, latin pop, and we wanted to give you the best of them all. We at Latin Foods & Products are constantly playing something on our speakers. Whatever it is that's playing, you can be sure that at least one of us is dancing in the kitchen.
We came together as a team to listen to over 500 songs on love, friendship, passion and compassion, romance and loss to compile this collection of music to inspire and invoke joy, passion, intimacy and nostalgia.
In the playlist, the first ten songs are the songs I highlight below, in case you want to quickly add any of them. From there on, we curated the collection to be listened to in order but we aren't against shuffling through and finding what catches your ear! Many of them are classics, some are hidden gems, but hopefully you stumble on something that you decide to save to your own playlists.
The once frontman for one of the most famous rock en español bands of the 80's and 90's, had a successful solo career as well. "Cactus" was a single from the Argentine artist's solo album Fuerza Natural.
I first heard this gem on my first day looking for songs for the playlist and I knew it would make it on. Fast forward two weeks, the lyrics still puzzle me and it is one of my most played songs on the playlist.
This old-style bolero is one for the ages with its trumpet holding our attention hostage only for Ibrahim's Ferrer's voice to release us as we imagine an evening coffee/tea date under the stars in Havanna, Cuba. Buena Vista Social Club, or "Los Superabuelos" ("The Super-Grandfathers"), was an ensemble of the Cuba's most revered musical artists, some who had even already been retired for years. Ferrer himself had already had a successful career from the 50's - 80's but saw a revival when the group came together in 1996.
The late Cuban Pianist Bebe Valdez and Spanish Singer Diego "El Cigala" come together to create a timeless latin piece about parting with a significant other. Bebe's piano briskly carries the rhythm, and Diego's slow, soft and raspy voice comes in, it contrasts so well to build tension and then finally release with the chorus "Tiene lagrimas negras, tienes lagrimas negras, como mi vida." ("Has black tears, has black tears"). The song envelops you in the sound of the saxophone and piano bringing a sense of exclusivity, as if this was a one time performance for a luckily, small crowd that got to witness greatness.
A love song who's video shows real scenes from Coscuella and Jennifer Fungenzi talks about how loving and being love will always be more important that admiration, fame and money. Apart from the chorus hitting harder and harder everything time, it includes legendary lyrics like
"Y si me hubiera muerto, sin haberte conocido,
me atreveria a decir que mori, sin nunca haber vivido"
Jose Luiz Perales gives us an intensely vivid yet abstract soft piece that breaks down what loving is by expressing, in just a few syllables every line, the things we do for love. "El Amor" quickly establishes a slow and intimate feeling before Jose Luiz enters, matching the feeling with depth in lyrics.
The Spotify version is great with an electric guitar in the outro but personally, the youtube version "en vivo" because it replaces the electric guitar for a deep, rich tenor sax
Pepe's "Por Mujeres Como Tu" tells a story of trying to win a woman over but failing to because of fear of rejection and eventually coming on too strong. A feeling we can all empathize with, rejection is a part of life, but Pepe details how intense the fear can be felt that some people pass away "mordiendo el corazon" loosely translating to biting their own hearts by withholding their feelings.
Nicky Jam's 2015 hit "El Perdon" stayed No. 1 on the Billboard's Hot Latin songs for 30 weeks and for many, including Nicky Jam, defined their year. The Puerto Rican artist has stated that it is the most important song to his carrier because it was the one that broke the international language barrier and saw people all over the world singing along regardless of whether they knew Spanish.
A personal favourite, "Si Nos Dejan" is mariachi throwback that repeats the title line 'If they let us' in help illustrate what two people in love would do if they were in love forever.
"Si nos dejan, Nos vamos a vivir a un mundo nuevo" "If they let us, We'd go live in a new world"
"Si nos dejan, De todo lo demas nos olvidamos"
"If they let us, We'd forget about everything else"
How could I talk about Latin love songs without including Romeo Santos and Usher's bachata classic Promise. I won't lie, it was one of the hardest hitting slow spanish jams of the early half of the decade. The nostalgia is immense; a different time, different people, different everything. But... although it may not be the first thought that crosses my mind, and if you can relate please let me know in the comments below... But at some point, not long after thinking *Wow this song still slaps* -- *oh man, the quinceñera... hours of dancing... hours of this song* LOL.
The New York-based Dominican boy band Aventura was formed in 1994 and they made the bold decision of withholding signing a deal with producers, instead dedicating themselves to learning everything necessary to succeed on their own. In 1999, they were still struggling with finding a sound but they wanted to keep their element of bachata prevalent. Their big break came just over 3 years later in 2003 when Obsession was released as the single for their album We Broke the Rules and found a large audience in Latin youth as bachata started becoming more popular in dance halls.
The late Juan Gabriel was one of the most prolific and successful artists, composers and singers of all time coming out of Mexico with an estimate 60 million records sold worldwide. This particular gem, "Hug Me Very Hard", starts of soft and intimate and picks up about half-way giving us one of his greatest verses. There is but one enemy, time. "Abrázame que el tiempo pasa y ese no se detiene;"
"Hug me, for time is passing, and it won't stop;
"Abrázame muy fuerte amor que el tiempo en contra viene"
"Hug me very hard, love, for time is against us;
"Abrázame que dios perdona pero el tiempo a ninguno"
"Hug me, for God may forgive you but no one is forgiven by Time"
That concludes our list of 10 of the most romantic Latin songs on love, loss, and romance. They can all be found at the top of our playlist on Spotify
We'd love to know what you think of the playlist! Give it a listen and comment your thoughts, your favourite songs, and songs you want to see on the playlist below!