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A Playlist of Clásicos Navideños

The fact that we share a body of songs that are especially played to enliven the holiday festivities tells plenty about the role of music in our cultural context and the strong ties between music and people, cultural values and identity.


Our repertorio navideño is filled with a distinctive musical language, one that invites the listener to celebrate with friends and family, share a meal, dance, sing and play instruments. Popular choruses  such as “Agarra el cuatro y el güiro que ya es tiempo de fiestar” and “Con güiro y pandereta” are just examples of the participatory character inherent to canciones navideñas.


“Musical sounds are a powerful human resource, often at the heart of our most profound social occasions and experiences.” –Thomas Turino


Although many of these songs convey a message of joy, happiness and non-stop party, there are also devotional, nostalgic, inspiring or plainly sad songs. These songs carry emotions, take us places, remind us of loved ones and bring memories from those that are not around anymore.


Listening to our canciones navideñas or participating of their performance through singing, playing or dancing, create a unique process of individual and social integration. Ultimately these songs that we hear en navidad contribute to the definition of who we are and also collect the character of Puerto Rican traditions.


Our songs belong to our cultural patrimony. Let’s listen and enjoy them together, they express our most intrinsic social values. Share your favorite tunes via Facebook and Twitter! I’m including here a small sample of canciones de navidad to get the parranda started.



Essential Playlist


Cheo Feliciano—Mapeyé


Richie Ray and Bobby CruzBomba en navidad


Ismael Rivera—Una tarjeta postal


Willie Colón and Hector LaVoe—Esta navidad


Felipe Rodriguez "La Voz"—Los reyes no llegaron


Vicente Carattini y Los cantores de San Juan—Caminan las nubes


Flor Morales Ramos "Ramito"—Aires Navideños


Felipe Roríguez "La Voz" and Pedro Ortiz "Davilita"—La Rosa Blanca


Trio Vegabajeño—Cantares de navidad


Grupo Mapeye—Los Magos de Oriente


Ernestina Reyes "La Calandria"—Brisas navideñas


Sonora Ponceña—Aguinaldo Antillano


Rafael Hernández y el Cuarteto Victoria—Campanitas de Cristal


Jesús Sánchez "Chuito el de Bayamón"—Los Tres Santos Reyes


Emilio Quiñones—Plena Navideña


Mon Rivera—Una plena en Navidad con Mon Rivera


José Feliciano—Feliz navidad


Félix del Rosario—Candela



© Center for Puerto Rican Studies. Publsihed in Centro Voices on 17 December 2014.