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Workin' For The Weekend: Alt.Latino's Songs For Labor Day

Alt.Latino

Workin' For The Weekend: Alt.Latino's Songs For Labor Day

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Rita Indiana plays the guiro. courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption courtesy of the artist

Rita Indiana plays the guiro.

courtesy of the artist

Work: You may sometimes dislike it, but you always want it in your life.

This week on Alt.Latino, we celebrate Labor Day with a mix of songs about working hard and wanting a vacation: A Chilean band sings about the joy of having a job after being unemployed, a Brazilian rocker offers up an ode to the overworked and underpaid, a Dominican female MC delivers a musical poem about an immigrant's toil and an Argentine group refuses to work 9 to 5.

We also take a moment to discuss Victor Jara, a Chilean folk icon and major influence on Latin rock; his ode to a miner's life resonates with news of the 33 Chilean workers trapped in a notoriously dangerous mine.

As always, we hope you join in the conversation and discuss your favorite songs about labor (or lack thereof).

Workin' For The Weekend: Alt.Latino's Songs For Labor Day

Los Prisioneros

Voy a Trabajar

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Voy a Trabajar

  • from Manzana
  • by Los Prisioneros

Felix picked "Voy a Trabajar" (I Am Going to Work) by the Chilean band Los Prisioneros; it's about a guy who's finally found work. Partly a love song for the woman in his life, it's also an ode to the joy of having a job. Los Prisioneros' members have always been socially conscious and politically active. Their 1987 album La Cultura de la Basura criticized the military regime in power at the time, and led to the band being blacked out by mainstream Chilean media.

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Song
Manzana
Album
Manzana
Artist
Los Prisioneros
Label
WEA International
Released
2004

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Cover for América Brasil: O CD ao Vivo

Trabalhador

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Trabalhador

  • from América Brasil: O CD ao Vivo
  • by Seu Jorge

This song by Brazilian rocker Seu Jorge is an ode to the hard-working, underpaid men and women in every type of industry. It's part anthem, part protest song; I like that Seu Jorge sounds like he's vocalizing through a bullhorn. "Brazilian worker, you work all day like a donkey and make no money,” he sings.

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Song
América Brasil: O CD ao Vivo
Album
América Brasil: O CD ao Vivo
Artist
Seu Jorge
Label
EMI Brazil
Released
2009

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Wait.Think.Fast

Jornaleras

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Jornaleras

  • from Luces del sur
  • by Wait.Think.Fast

The Los Angeles band Wait.Think.Fast has this great new album out featuring "Jornaleras," the title of which refers to a female day laborer. The group, fronted by Argentine singer and pianist Jacqueline Santillan, sings in English and Spanish and incorporates a lot of traditional Latin American instruments like charango (a guitar traditionally from northern Argentina and Bolivia). The words to "Jornaleras," sung in a desperate voice by Santillan, capture the pain of their subject's working conditions. "I walk to the train with only a coffee in my belly," she sings. "Come on woman, we're waiting for you, change your skin, change your faith."

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Victor Jara

We Are Fine

Canción del Minero

  • from Antologia Musical
  • by Victor Jara

Since part of today's show discusses workers who are surviving difficult conditions, we wanted to pay special attention to a group currently in a great deal of danger. Thirty-three Chilean miners have been trapped in one of that country's most notorious mines since Aug. 5. While all are alive more than 2,000 feet underground, they might not be able to be rescued until December. Chilean folk icon Victor Jara sang about miners' difficult work in the '60s, but this beautiful tune still strikes a chord today.

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Song
Antologia Musical
Album
Antologia Musical
Artist
Victor Jara
Label
WEA International
Released
2003

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Los Autenticos Decadentes

Guitarra

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La Guitarra

  • from Mi Vida Loca
  • by Los Auténticos Decadentes

In "La Guitarra" (The Guitar), Argentine ska-rock band Los Autenticos Decadentes re-enacts an argument between a father and a son. The son refuses to take a 9-to-5 job and says he wants to play his guitar all day. The father is sick of the son's shenanigans, and of his drinking all the beer in the house. Jasmine recently saw this band perform live, and she says it's one of the most enjoyable concerts she's attended in a long time.

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Song
Mi Vida Loca
Album
Mi Vida Loca
Artist
Los Auténticos Decadentes
Label
BMG
Released
1996

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