It’s that time of the year. Family and friends gather to talk, eat and share some drinks. At many family events the holiday music playlist is mandatory. In my family gatherings, the holiday playlist serves as a soundtrack to the multiple conversations among siblings. The sounds of the güiro, the cuatro and the trumpets competing with the tías catching up, children running around and with the resonances of metal spoons and lids of giant calderos when food is being served. Although the music remains mostly loud and unnoticed, it’s essential to set the mood of the party. But there’s one point when my tío Carlitos takes out the maracas, panderos de plena, güiro, cowbell and claves and it’s time for everyone, from kids to grandparents, to sing along with the soundtrack. A participatory music-making activity that has developed the musical interests of more than one family member—myself included—and has led me to discover the broad catalog of Puerto Rican canciones navideñas. Here’s a selection of 51 songs, some cheerful others melancholic, to help you set the mood of your family get-together. Share your favorite tunes with us via Facebook and Twitter, and check our last year's list of clásicos navideños.
To play look at the whole list, click on th elist button at the top left corner of the YouTube window.
For those who prefer to listen to the aires navideños playlist on Spotify, click below.
© Center for Puerto Rican Studies. Published in Centro Voices on 18 December 2015.