Early in December I was eating breakfast at Seis, and they were playing Spanish-language Christmas music in the restaurant. Some songs I recognized from English versions, some I didn’t, but I loved almost all of them instantly. An employee told me the music was from an online stream. So after I left, I found something similar on Apple Music and started my journey. A few weeks later, here’s what I know.
- El Burrito Sabanero is one of the catchiest songs you’ll ever hear. If you’re looking for an earworm to eat your current earworm alive, this is your worm. My favorite version is by La Rondallita.
- A close second for “Catchiest Song” is Los Peces en El Río. It sounds to me a like a traditional folk melody and is quite beautiful. The Gipsy Kings rock out on it. Pandora’s 80s synths are fun. But the best one is by Gaby Moreno backed up by a really swinging jazz band, violin included.
- Just like in English, you can find ridiculous but awesome covers of well-known song, like this version of the Little Drummer Boy. Did you listen to the end for the drum solo?
- As I mentioned, there are tons of classics you already know. I loved this norteño version of Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I also loved the big band versions by Luis Miguel on Navidades and the chill jazz takes on the Christmas EP Matisse released this year.
- I also enjoyed hearing new-to-me songs, like the super salsa Ya Se Ven las Bombillitas by Victor Manuelle and the smooth tones of ranchera singer Lucha Villa in Tu Adiós Es Mi Navidad.
In his end of the year classic, El Año Viejo, Tony Camargo with his band and backup singers will blow your socks off. He sings with joy about the good things he got over the last year. For me, one of the best things I got last year was an introduction to a lot of great songs and artists. And now I can dig into their non-Christmas music! It’s going to be a blast.