[Playlist] Hispanic Heritage Month

Avery Rosas, Sports Editor

The richness of Hispanic culture has long depended on its cornerstone – music. Classic boleras and baladas transcended romantic themes and possibilities during the 1940s and 50s. Cumbia and merengue overtook the dance floors of every party in Latin America. Salsa and bachata did the same at an earlier time. And today, Latino pop artists are seen dominating the mainstream music industry to a degree that no other Latin artist has reached before. From Pedro Infante and Los Panchos to Elvis Crespo and Bad Bunny, take a musical tour through the illustrious history of Hispanic heritage. 


– Clásicos –

Cien Años – Pedro Infante

Pedro Infante, famously dubbed the “King of Ranchera”, dominated Latin American radio and TV in the 1940s and 50s, in a time where romance interweaved with lyrics to form pure musical poetry. “Cien Años” (which translates to “one hundred years”), is the best song from the best singer of that era, and the perfect song to start off this list.

Sabor a Mí – Eydie Gorme with Trio Los Panchos

Eydie Gorme is not in any way known as an illustrious Spanish or Latin singer. However, her collaboration with Trio Los Panchos, who were a prominent name in Latin America during the 1950s and 60s, created one of the greatest romance albums in Hispanic history. The gentle yet masterful hands of Alfredo Gil and his requinto perfectly contrasted the power of Eydie Gorme’s voice in “Sabor a Mí”.

Ni Por Favor – Pedro Infante

Oh, is that Pedro Infante again? Yes, it is. And there is still more of him to come. This witty, slightly comical song about a breakup is a great example of Infante’s vocal versatility and making light of a particularly drab subject. As stated in the song, translated, he says “If you don’t love me, whatever!”

Sombras – Javier Solis with Trio Los Panchos

It has become abundantly clear that Trio Los Panchos makes everything a tad bit better, despite how great they were on their own. However, the main idea of this song is Javier Solis who, along with Pedro Infante (There he is again!) and Jorge Negrete, formed “The 3 Roosters” of Mexican (and Hispanic) music. It’s perhaps the best song from Solis, as difficult a task it may be to choose, but his elegant, strong voice accompanied by Los Panchos is on proud display in “Sombras”.

Tu Vida y Mi Vida – Pedro Infante

I’m not sorry. This eloquent song about the uniting of two souls moves past romance and partners and can be connected to any significant person in your life. Without getting too personal, the song that my mother and I will always share had to make its way on here somehow, even if the song is masterful in itself. 

– Música Tropical –

La Vida es Un Carnaval – Celia Cruz

Celia Cruz, the “Queen of Salsa” would never be left off of this list, with her most famous song highlighting the brighter side of life, a characteristic of the entire salsa genre. Her Cuban accent shines in any rendition of this song that you can find, and the message that follows it will never fail to put a smile on your face. Along with the rhythm and instrumentals that accompany her, Celia Cruz will live on in Latin history forever – more specifically, this song.

El Ladrón – La Sonora Santanera

Música Tropical peaked in the 1970s and 80s across Latin America with due reason. The trumpet and piano featured in the song are like a contagious disease that makes everyone around you start dancing, the only cure unfortunately being the song ending. 

Suavemente – Elvis Crespo

The world of merengue music would be in a very different place than it is today if not for Puerto Rican singer Elvis Crespo deciding to release what he figured would be a failure of a track; “Suavemente”, if nothing else, is a song that you are basically born with, knowing the lyrics as if they were an intrinsic Latino trait. This dangerously catchy and endlessly fun song makes your hips feel sore from dancing, but you probably won’t regret it at all.

Mil Horas – La Sonora Dinamita

Cumbias boomed from the late 80s through to the 2000s and did so almost certainly because of La Sonora Dinamita. The Colombian group filled any stadium in any country with fans anxious to levitate in the air and dance endlessly to the tropical and upbeat themes of their songs. “Mil Horas”, a song about a man being left in the rain by his partner for “a thousand hours” as the name describes, is a song you cannot skip.

La Dueña Del Swing – Los Hermanos Rosario

From the very first note, this song entraps you in its state of endless rhythm and style as a merengue staple, discussing themes of an imaginary woman labeled as “The Boss of Swing.” The only way you’ll find yourself sitting while this song plays is if you’re strapped down and locked to your seat. Los Hermanos Rosario didn’t have the consistent fame that many others on this list did, but every genre is grateful for their one-hit-wonder.

Rock en Español –

La Negra Tomasa – Caifanes

Caifanes along with countless other bands made their mark in the late 1990s and early 2000s with their powerful social commentary on prominent issues, especially in Mexico at a time when corruption and drugs had formed peaks in violence and public fear. “La Negra Tomasa” distracts us from those times and transports us to a different realm, one where electric guitars and tropical beats create fantastic music.

Clavado en un Bar – Maná

Maná was the band in México and, eventually, the whole world during the same period as Caifanes. The band has been recognized as one of the most successful artists in Latin history and has, as a result, released some incredibly memorable songs. This one in particular is probably the most recognizable that the band created, and one of the most easily recognizable in Latino history.

La Bamba – Ritchie Valens

Ritchie Valens was the original Chicano artist, introducing simple folk songs into rock classics that took over the US stage for the short time that he was alive and famous. Even if you’re not Latino, you’ve probably heard this song. The clear 1960s rock sound is punctuated by Valens’ raspy Spanish singing and almost makes it unable to tell that he didn’t speak the language, due to how little it mattered.

Latino Pop

Como La Flor – Selena Quintanilla

As the birth of a new century approached, some of the greatest stars in music history blossomed as well. Selena Quintanilla, known iconically as Selena, was one of the first, and most legendary, megastars in the Tejano genre. Como La Flor is a beautiful rendition of her smooth yet extravagant voice, and this song is a testament to the amount of fame she amassed in the short time she was in the spotlight.

Bailando – Enrique Iglesias

Enrique Iglesias’ pressure to be as big as his father didn’t seem to be an issue as he topped the charts in several countries with several hits, “Bailando” being one of his most known songs. This reggaeton-scented candle must be burned at any Latino party, as the rise of pop marked the turn of the century.

Gasolina – Daddy Yankee with Pitbull

You’ve heard this song. Whether it be in entertainment about Dominican baseball players or at parties, or the fact that it doesn’t matter that the verses are almost discernable without reading them, Daddy Yankee and Pitbull were a power combo that created something that perhaps is better left untranslated.

Me Porto Bonito – Bad Bunny

 The superstar of Latin music today, Bad Bunny took the machista undertones of certain Latin genres and turned them on their heads. His latest album saw him top the charts for what has now been months, and for good reason. “Me Porto Bonito” headlined his powerful new album, Un Verano Sin Ti, and has inflicted its catchiness all over Latino TikTok.