In Latin America, artists did not stop creating music despite the pandemic and the consequent mandatory containment measures in force in almost all the countries of the region. Since March, the music that refers to COVID-19, in particular, has gained a lot of strength on the internet.
We present nine songs produced by Latin American artists – mostly from home – in recent months. Many have a humorous tone. For example, Mexican artists often enjoy using dark, or “politically incorrect” humor in their art as a way of dealing with negative news. Also, some of these songs were released before the virus hit the continent hard. Other songs are more solemn in nature or have messages of social protest in their lyrics.
The comedy band Los Tres Tristes Tigres, from Monterrey, Mexico, released several songs during COVID-19. His first, “Canción del Coronavirus”, reached 3.7 million views on YouTube, and was collected by the Puerto Rican artist Bad Bunny on his Instagram page.
The trio, whose band name is inspired by the famous tongue twister, is made up of Jesús Gallardo (accordion, iPad and maracas), Erick Ibarra (bass and double bass) and Pedro Palacios (guitar and vocals). They make comedy and humorous songs, generally based on regional Mexican musical genres, such as the popular corrido.
The “Coronavirus Song” speaks of the early stages of panic regarding the pandemic – when school classes and concerts were canceled and people rushed to stores to stock up on food. “They closed Disneyland, and this scares me,” they sing, without censoring the profanity of the Mexicans.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_oR77mGQao (/ embed)
One of the most important singers in Nicaragua, Luis Enrique Mejía Godoy, published a song on YouTube in which he solemnly exhorts people to stay home to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Mejía, sometimes called the “troubadour of the revolution”, actively participated in the first socialist and Sandinista revolutionary government in Nicaragua, which lasted from 1979 to 1990. His songs are known in Central America for their social and political conscience.
In “Stay at Home”, to the tone of a Spanish guitar, he sings “Stay at home, don't insist so much, tomorrow we can finally hug each other”.
Nicaragua, the poorest country in Central America, has received criticism for not having taken strict measures to stop the transmission of the virus; for example, schools and borders have remained open, and President Daniel Ortega has been largely absent from the public sphere.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HhZAp-Cmmc (/ embed)
Yofrangel 911 was probably one of the first Latin American artists to release a song about COVID-19 on February 9. With 8.5 million views on YouTube, dembow singer Yofrangel's “Corona Virus” asks people to “cover their mouths” while citing the most common symptoms of the disease in a catchy beat. According to Insider, many reacted to the song on Twitter – activist Angy. praise the song and asked the World Health Organization to prepare campaigns using it as a base, while some YouTube commentators believed that this video “is disrespectful to the people and companies that are losing so much because of this virus.”
On April 11, Yofrangel 911 released a new song called “Antidote.”
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uF3dg5seGLs (/ embed)
Cuban singer Ariel de Cuba, who currently lives in Spain, produced the song “Quedate en casa” with salsa and reggaeton melodies. The song includes lyrics like “take care of grandma, take care of grandpa, if we are united, we will win”, and it was produced entirely at home. “The video was recorded by my daughter, in collaboration with my son, and I edited it,” she told the Houston Chronicle. The song also inspired 44 personal trainers in El Salvador, who were filmed dancing and exercising with the song to promote exercise at home during the running of the bulls.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TExkP8vNB4k (/ embed)
The renowned salsa singer Rubén Blades, winner of numerous Grammy Awards, produced a song with Ceferino Nieto to cheer up the Panamanian people who are currently locked up. The video shows Blades, who seems to be singing from his living room in New York, shots of Panama and an edition of close-ups with videos of people at home singing the “Panama” choir.
Panama has banned all international flights, has implemented a curfew and, since April 1, has also implemented a gender blockade: a few days, only women can leave the house, and days, only men . Panama was the first affected country in Central America, and the one with the most cases, 144 deaths and almost 5000 confirmed infections.
Regarding the pandemic, Blades wrote in his “Journal of the plague” on Facebook that “this is an opportunity to radically alter our behaviors and create alternatives that help us all, and the environment. Let's look at all the possibilities and don't limit our concern to nostalgia for what we did before the crisis. ”
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkkQfY2sBMs (/ embed)
The Peruvian band “Los Chuguranos” sang this COVID19 song about Huayno musicality and rhythms ”. Huayno is a musical genre and a popular dance that comes from the Quechua and Aymara peoples. It is played throughout the Andean region, which includes Peru, Bolivia, northern Argentina and northern Chile. Normally, huayno is accompanied by popular dances.
Here, the band sings “Oh, crown, little crown, you have come to my Peru”, followed by “what will become of my life? You will surely take it ”. Later, they sing: “Now that you have arrived, I want you to listen to me: take the settlers, but leave my Peru alone.”
Throughout Latin America, “settler” is the term used to refer to those who enter indigenous territory and are engaged in activities related to mining, deforestation, extraction, oil exploration, industrial agriculture, and evangelical churches. For example, the indigenous communities of Peru and the NGO Amazon Watch called for the entry of outsiders to the Amazon to be prohibited to prevent the spread of the virus among the natives.
The singers conclude by exhorting people to follow public health safety measures and to wash their hands.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JhQuppcLCM (/ embed)
Venezuelan singer and humorist César Muñoz, currently lives in Miami and frequently produces short songs about the obstacles of confinement. For example, he sang about his nostalgia for taking a walk, a tribute to nurses around the world, and the daily anxieties of being locked up.
In this song, “A Quarantine with Children,” Muñoz speaks quickly with a classic piano background reminiscent of a children's song.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOoC7gogz7k (/ embed)
Mexican artist Emma Mayte Carballo Hernández, known as Flor Amargo, produced a fun cumbia song about the difficulties of spending all her free time locked up with a loved one. Cumbia is a musical genre that is played throughout Latin America with regional flavors.
In general, Flor Amargo likes to mix cumbia with pop, classical piano and folk music – a mix that she calls “cathartic pop”, a kind of improvisation of music and singing without much concern for form.
Although the lyrics, which are meant to be fun, may seem callous to some – she says, for example, that she “would rather be infected and die” than live with her partner all the time – the comments on YouTube seem to appreciate her humor.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXJHUUkAmqo (/ embed)
Puerto Rican rap
René Pérez Joglar, better known as Residente, has recreated several of his greatest successes with a “quarantine version”. He first released “Apocalyptic” and then his most recent autobiographical song, “René,” which garnered more than seven million views alone. Each music video is made up of images of its musicians and singers that it plays from home.
Residente also released a quarantined version of his 2011 song “Latinoamérica”, which was originally produced by his band Calle 13 and won the Grammy Award that year. According to El País, Latin America is “considered a hymn against poverty and in favor of Latin American identity.”
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crXjkY1QBck (/ embed)