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5 Latin Songs, Engineered To Cheer You Up

Celia Cruz, the queen of salsa. i i

hide captionCelia Cruz, the queen of salsa.

Courtesy of the artist.
Celia Cruz, the queen of salsa.

Celia Cruz, the queen of salsa.

Courtesy of the artist.

In spite of our many musical variations, one thing that seems to unite Latin Americans is our love of suffering in song — the gusto with which we sprinkle musical salt in our wounds. "Perfidia" is one of the best known love ballads of Latin America, and its words paint a terrifying portrait of anxiety and abandonment: "Nobody knows how much I suffer / I sing because I cannot sob / I shake, alone, anxiously / Everyone looks at me and walks away."

We've talked a lot about these love songs, and about cortavenas (vein slashers), so we're doing something different today. We wanted to create a playlist that doubles as a pick-me-up. So we asked Alt.Latino listeners: What do you listen to when you want to stop feeling down and out? We were flooded with suggestions — we might have to record a sequel to this episode — and ended up with a great show in which we play music from a legendary Mexican rock band, a newer Chilean folk artist and, of course, the queen of salsa, the goddess Celia Cruz. Because, as one of our listeners pointed out, if she doesn't make you smile, you might not have actual blood running in your veins.

As always, please help us keep the conversation going: Tell us what songs you pull out when you need to feel a little better.

5 Latin Songs, Engineered To Cheer You Up

Cover for Brazil Classics, Vol. 1: Beleza Tropical

Various Artists

  • Album: Brazil Classics, Vol. 1: Beleza Tropical
  • Song: Quilombo, O el Dorado Negro
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  • "Quilombo, O el Dorado Negro"
  • Album: Brazil Classics, Vol. 1: Beleza Tropical
  • Artist: Various Artists
  • Label: Sire
  • Released: 1989
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Café Tacuba

  • Album: Re
  • Song: Baile y el Salón
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  • "Baile y el Salón"
  • Album: Re
  • Artist: Café Tacuba
  • Label: WEA International
  • Released: 1994
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Cover for Reina y Sus Amigos

Celia Cruz

  • Album: Reina y Sus Amigos
  • Song: Vida Es Un Carnaval [Live Carnegie Version] [Live][*][Version]
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  • "Vida Es Un Carnaval [Live Carnegie Version] [Live][*][Version]"
  • Album: Reina y Sus Amigos
  • Artist: Celia Cruz
  • Label: Sony Music Distribution
  • Released: 2009
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Mala Rodríguez

  • Album: Lujo Ibérico
  • Song: Especias y Especies
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  • "Especias y Especies"
  • Album: Lujo Ibérico
  • Artist: Mala Rodríguez
  • Label: Universal Distribution
  • Released: 2002
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Gepe

  • Album: GP
  • Song: Fruta Y Te
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Chico Buarque

  • Album: Meus Caros Amigos
  • Song: O Que Será (À Flor da Terra)
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  • "O Que Será (À Flor da Terra)"
  • Album: Meus Caros Amigos
  • Artist: Chico Buarque
  • Label: Polygram
  • Released: 1976
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Cover for Just Another Band from East L.A.: A Collection

Los Lobos

  • Album: Just Another Band from East L.A.: A Collection
  • Song: Bertha [Live]
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  • "Bertha [Live]"
  • Album: Just Another Band from East L.A.: A Collection
  • Artist: Los Lobos
  • Label: FFRR
  • Released: 1993
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