By Jack Tomas
The holiday season is officially upon us and that means two things: 1) Maxing out your credit cards to buy presents for all your 5 billion Latino relatives -we like to reproduce- and 2)The omnipresence of Christmas music. I don’t know about you, but if I hear Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” one more time I’m going to jump in front of a bus. While American Christmas songs are OK, I miss the Latino Christmas songs of my childhood. Growing up in a Cuban family that lived in Mexico and Texas with some Puerto Rican relatives, we had an eclectic mix of songs from these three great countries. Every year while my abuela cooked up the pierna de lechon, arroz y frijoles negros, maduros, y yucca, my mom would sing – God help us – while my tia played many of these songs on guitar.
So, in the spirit of the season I give you Tu Vez’s Ultimate Latino Christmas Playlist on Spotify. It’s truly amazing that all these wonderful songs are on Spotify. I’ve included classics like Jose Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad” as well as American standards like “Cascabel” (“Jingle Bells”). There are tunes from Mexico’s villancicos tradition like “Humildes Peregrinos” as well as my favorite Christmas song from when I was a kid, “Rin Rin”. It tells the tale of Mary and Joseph’s burro eating all their chocolate, which is impossible since chocolate wouldn’t arrive in the Middle East for 1500 years, but whatever. I finish with Alvarez Guedes’ timeless “Cada Vez Que Pienso En Ti” which is a response to receiving a Christmas card from an ex…um…colorfully. Plus lots more! I’m not ashamed to admit that I got a little choked up making this list.