Music, Poetry, and Storytelling

Poetry and songs often time inhabit the same creative sphere even if they don’t share the same room. Both are used to tell stories and truths by using language to craft the space necessary to derive meaning. In class we discussed what Latinx is and how this identity is fluid and diverse. Identity and experience are deeply intertwined and a lot of the poetry in the anthology works to tell the story of identity and identity in relation to experience. So I decided to create a playlist, a very long one at that, to tell a story of one facet of Latnix identity that reflects more of a person experience.

Playlist Link: “En el Norte” 

Explaination/ Background for the playlist:

I decided to call it “En el Norte” because I wanted to focus on Latinx identity in the U.S (the U.S. is commonly referred to as the North, in my experience). I started with “Pa’l Norte” because Calle 13 captures this feeling of promised hope and promised happy endings associated with America and how this optimism is met with a new kind of struggle within the America. I continued this story of struggle being met with optimism and resilience through to “Glory and Gore” by Lorde.

I then move into the racism and inequalities that people of Latinx identity can face, starting with “Frijolero” by Molotov. The song I chose in response to the blatant racism that exists both in the institutions of power and in the people that enforce those intuitions unconsciously or consciously, is “El Hormiguero” by Calle 13. “El Hormiguero” is about the resilience of Latinx community and it serves as an anthem to bring people together to fight against racism and oppression in whatever form it takes. However, I also wanted to touch base on the loss and suffering that Latinx, and most marginalized communities face with the songs “¿Donde Jugaran Los Niños?” by Maná and “Let it Be” a cover from Across the Universe.

“Latinoamerica” by Calle 13 moves the narrative back to Latin-American roots and how culture, history, and present narratives can be a source of strength and proof resiliency. This song also serves to denounce capitalism and colonialism. This pride and connection to Latin-America and will to keep moving forward in the United States continues through to “Carnival Del Barrio” from In The Heights.  From “Las flores” by Café Tacvba through to “Downtown” by Macklmore and Ryan Lewis help show how communities come together and form communities that thrive despite the oppression that exists in day to day life.

As a Latina, I also wanted to make sure that songs that were empowering to women were on this playlist. “Gravel to Tempo” by Hayley Kiyoko talks about breaking away from the norm and creating one’s own path. Latinx women have had history of taking on different roles despite the very rigid gender roles that exist within Latinx Culture. I also wanted to touch upon sexuality and being able to embrace it, which “Gravel to Tempo” helps do and “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” by Selena furthers.

“Run This Town” to “Si Señor” discuss how people of color in general have to work harder to succeed and how stigma, stereotypes, and the overall system that works to exploit people of color. I then added “These Walls” to realizing and recognizing the privileges that only really extend to white men and how the systems of oppression work to create barriers for marginalized communities. “Wait for it” from Hamilton examines the dichotomy between living lives of action and living lives carefully planned. I wanted to add this song to discuss the importance of both taking actions to further one’s own narrative and being unafraid to take space (Hamilton’s character in the play does this) but also recognizing that for change to occur in a larger scale one has to wait for it.

“Amor Eterno” to “Rise Up” tell the story of family, from loving one’s parents to wanting a better life for one’s own children.  “Made in America” to “In My Place” help examine how one can make a home in hostile place and work to slowly dismantle the hostility and find strength in the tenacity that exists from one’s identity that has been shaped by one’s experience. “There is A Light That Never Goes Out” and “Hoy Tengo Miedo” express the relationship between fear and hope.

I wanted to end this playlist with “La Vuelta Al Mundo” as a call to action. This song expresses the need to create change. It also discusses how change starts not just by wanting to  change things but by changing the way one interacts with the world. By changing one’s interactions with an inherently discriminatory society, one can work to actively change different aspects, whether it be on small levels or on a larger scale.

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