[Editor’s Note: this is the fifth of six playlist posts collected in our Island Music series, which shares some of the Spanish and Latin music playlists we’ve created for our Panama resort, with a little context about the artists and styles featured in each.]
If you’re from North America, our island music selections are likely to present you with many new and unfamiliar sounds, immersing you in the cultures that have influenced music in Panama and Latin America, while getting you into an exotic island mood. But just as you might crave some french fries from time to time, sometimes a familiar tune wafting in is welcome. Now, we aren’t going to just start playing the Beatles or Stones… great artists that they are, they don’t partner as well with the tropical cocktails at our beachfront bar, as say, Celia Cruz. However, if you find yourself recognizing a familiar melody among the Latin rhythms, pay closer attention — maybe it’s “Satisfaction” from Rhythms del Mundo’s Classics compilation. This set features some of the best-loved popular music of the US and the UK, reinterpreted by various Latin American artists.
Despite this claim, you might not recognize the first two tracks at all. The first is by Os Mutantes, the clowns of Brazil’s Tropicália movement in the late sixties – but as they were so heavily influenced by the psychedelic pop happening across the ocean, they mix well with the other music here, and they were great: so you should know them. Same goes for the second song, Celia Cruz’ “La Negra Tiene Tumbao”, which provides a warm introduction to the “Queen of Salsa” and her trademark exclamation of “¡Azúcar!”
You’ll also hear various members of the Buena Vista Social Club (and if you’ve been tuning in for previous Island Music posts, you know them well by now), sometimes working with famous North Americans, and “Latinizing” songs that I am sure you’ll recognize. Easy Star presents Pink Floyd’s perfect “Time”, which works amazingly well dubbed-out, and Nouvelle Vague and Seu Jorge provide Brazilian interpretations of Blondie and Bowie. Senegalese salsa group Africando takes Edith Piaf’s classic “La Vie en Rose” from Paris to paradise with an uptempo Latin-infused reinterpretation. Closing the playlist is Rita Lee, the singer for Os Mutantes so many decades ago, performing – you guessed it – a Beatles song.
[Login to your Spotify account (or join — it’s free!) to listen to the playlist. Songs featured in the island music playlists can be purchased in Amazon’s or Apple’s online stores:]