Entertainment

These 17 Latino Dances Were Huge At One Time And They Should Be Huge Again

RCA / YouTube

There’s something to be said about the versatility of dance. Feeling down? Shake it off with a boogie. Feeling happy? Feel even better by tapping your feet to the beat, babes! Trying to avoid that one socially-awkward cousin at a big family bash? You guessed it – it’s time to make your way to the dance floor. We’ve put together a list of stellar latino dances for you to try at home, so you’ll never be caught unawares when you next need to show off your moves. You’re welcome.

1. La Macarena by Los del Rio

If you don’t know the Macarena, babes, you’re lacking some serious cultural education. This Spanish hit was released in 1993, and the rest was history. La Macarena is a mainstay on the wedding circuit, and it unfailingly gets everyone up out of their seats when it starts playing. Even if you don’t have a rhythmic bone in your body, it’s pretty easy to follow the steps once everyone is on their third rotation of the dance.

2. Suavemente by Elvis Crespo

Youtube / Elvis Crespo

If there is anything that is iconic about the video clip for Suavemente, it’s the clearly 90s-esque vibe it’s got going on. Elvis Crespo gave us a classic song for us to show off the best of our merengue skills. The trick is having a partner who can keep up with our fabulousness, right? Or, uh, making sure to move our hips to the music while we keep our upper body relaxed and slow-moving.

3. El Baile del Perrito by Wilfrido Vargas

Youtube / Rafael Alvarez

Considering that dogs are one of the best things in the world, it only stands to reason that The Puppy Dance is the goodest of bois. Dances. We mean dances. Wilfrido Vargas taught us all how to dance to the rhythm of a dog’s bark – and if that isn’t a worthy achievement, then we don’t know what is.

4. Hong Kong Mambo by Tito Puente

Youtube / Pedro Velazco

If your abuela doesn’t know this song, you need to find yourself a new abuelita. Okay, if her cooking makes up for it, then you can keep her around for a little longer. Anyway, the Hong Kong Mambo was literally made for dancing the mambo. In fact, the album it was released on, Dance Mania, is listed on the US’ National Recording Registry, which makes it a certified banger. 

5. Aserejé (The Ketchup Song) by Las Ketchup

Youtube / Altra Moda Music

Who could forget this absolute classic from the early 2000s? Even though no-one really knew what the lyrics were on about, that wasn’t really the point of the song. Rather, it was one hella bueno song to just swing your hips, your hands and your hair, and know that you definitely nailed it.

6. Retrato Cantado de um Amor by Reinaldo

But what if you’re in the mood to do a classic samba? Don’t worry babes, Reinaldo’s got you covered. This hit from Rio de Janeiro is played without fail at Carnival, so you better brush up on the samba before you go!

7. Payaso del Rodeo by Caballo Dorado

Youtube / Fernando Solis vevo

Caballo Dorado’s Payaso del Rodeo starts out like your typical box-step kinda tune – think along the lines of Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart.” But don’t be fooled, since the song speeds up and will have you sweating by the end of it!

8. La Chona by Los Tucanes de Tijuana

Youtube / LosTuncanesTV

You know when the party starts to die down, and everyone’s taking a breather? Well, La Chona’s the song that gets everyone back on the dance floor again, ready to tackle the quebradita!

9. Lambada by Kaoma

Youtube / ClubMusic80s

Even though Kaoma is a French group, they released their catchy song, Lambada, in Portuguese in honor of the dance style found in Brazil! It’s characterized by real fast, swaying hip movements, which were only accentuated by 90s fashion when the song was released.

10. Mi Cucu by La Sonora Dinamita

Youtube / Sabor Latino

So, this isn’t necessarily the fastest song in the playbook when it comes to putting together a Saturday night playlist. But, does that make it any less fun to dance along to? No, no it does not. Slow twirls are the way to go with this one. And it least it gives you some time to catch your breath!

11. La Bomba by Azul Azul

Youtube / amomibolivia

You put your hand on your head, and then your hand on your hips. And if it looks like “this,” then you’re doing it right – wait, wrong song. Anyway, if you do as the man says, you can’t go wrong with La Bomba.

12. La Bala by Los Hermanos Flores

Youtube / beyblademetal33

If you wondering what song you’ll be dancing your next cumbia to, it’ll probably be Los Hermanos Flores’ La Bala. This El Salvadoran band gave us the perfect melody for placing your hand on your stomach, and then rubbing it. And yes, you’ll look like you’re hungry. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, if you’ve been eyeing off the guac – hopefully someone will take pity on you and save some for later.

13. 1, 2, 3 by El Símbolo-TNN

Youtube / MUNICIPIOPC

This Argentinian hit is nice and easy – to be honest, it’s a great way to get the party started. The dance goes like so: everyone to the bottom, everyone to the top, then get close to your dance partner and shake it off. 

14. Sopa de Caracol by Banda Blanca

Youtube / viejoteca tropical bailable

It’s electro, it’s got horns, and it’s got unintelligible lyrics – it’s perfect! While the original music video had everyone shaking their hips to beat, you could probably get away with almost anything when it comes to Sopa de Caracol. This is your time to shine, babe.

15. Oy Como Va by Celia Cruz

Youtube / CeliaCruzVEVO

The cha-cha is a great excuse to get close to your dance partner and have some fun! Especially since there’s something real sexy about swinging your hips and shuffling your feet quickly in time to a fast beat. And so, Celia Cruz’s Oy Como Va is the perfect song to get those cha-cha-cha vibes going!

16. El Vanao by Los Cantantes

Youtube / TioTeo

This is the best song for letting your weird shine through. And it’s the best song for everyone else to get their weird on, too. If you’re not putting your fingers to your head in a mock-horn fashion, then you’re doing it wrong. After all, the point of it is to look like the music video! The original featured the artists dressed as deers, while remixes since have had computer-generated horns coming out of people’s heads. Yeah. Wow.

17. Za Za Za by DJ Oscar Lobo and Grupo Climax

Youtube / juanitollego

This song will have you clapping. Seriously! The true way to get into this song is by singing “mesa mesa” at the top of your lungs, and clapping along to the beat. That’s what makes it such a classic at quinceaneras.

So, which dance is your favorite? Let us know on our Facebook page – you can find it by clicking on the logo at the top of the page. 

Hispanic Heritage Month Is Meant To Celebrate Spanish-Speaking Cultures, But What Does That Mean In The Age Of Trump?

Culture

Hispanic Heritage Month Is Meant To Celebrate Spanish-Speaking Cultures, But What Does That Mean In The Age Of Trump?

This week is the start of a month long commemoration of Latino culture as Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, kicks off across the U.S. Compared to Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Hispanic Heritage Month starts in the middle of a month. This is due to September 15 and 16 marking the independence days of Costa Rica, Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador. 

The annual observance started back in in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson’s administration as a one-week celebration called Hispanic Heritage Week. It wouldn’t be until years later that President Ronald Reagan proposed extending this celebration into a month-long event. On Aug. 17, 1988, it was put into law officially designating the 30-day period starting on Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 as National Hispanic Heritage Month.

But in the age of Trump where anti-Latino sentiments run high, what does this month truly represent beyond just a marketing opportunity for companies to cash in on our culture?

Credit:@itseduardosolis/Twitter

For the next few weeks, Latinos will be at the forefront when it comes to “representation”. In other words, Latinos will be involved in marketing campaigns, corporate social media accounts will attempt to tweet in Spanish and sugar skulls will be all the rage at your local Target. That’s Hispanic Heritage Month in 2019 and something doesn’t seem right about that. 

The problem with Hispanic Heritage Month is that it represents almost everything that our culture isn’t about. That starts with the name itself, Hispanic, which came into use after the 1980 Census to refer to Spanish and Latin American descendants living in the U.S. It’s this lumping of all Latino people under the Hispanic umbrella, whether it applies to us or not, that is problematic. It leaves out countless of groups of people like those who identify as Afro-Latino or Indigenous that are constantly overlooked or never given any representation whatsoever. 

Beyond just the name, the question of it’s purpose and its meaning in this day and age also comes into play. In reality, most Latinos don’t need a month to be acknowledged or be at the forefront of a marketing campaign to feel accepted. Most celebrate their cultural pride every single day.

Hispanic Heritage Month was created by and promoted by the U.S. government to show that we “arrived” as people in this country. Yet in the 31 years since HHM started, Latinos have more than just arrived. We have made ourselves at home and have contributed to U.S. culture, science and art in ways that deserve more than just a month when brands pander to us. 

While some look at Hispanic Heritage Month as a time to celebrate maybe it can serve a better purpose by letting us tell our own narrative for once. 

Credit:@ric_galvan/Twitter

The purpose of Hispanic Heritage Month needs a reboot rather than some faux-celebration about ethnic representation. Instead, the month should focus on how to move our communities forward and how we can share our own narratives and stories. 

For a population group that makes up 18.1% of the total U.S. population, representation has been hard to come by in recent years. The majority of this visibility has been succumbed to President Trump’s antipathy towards Latinos and demonization of migrant groups coming from the Southern border. Then came Aug. 3, when a shooter inspired by the President Trump anti-Latino rhetoric killed 22 people in El Paso. The deadly shooting sent shock waves to Latino communities across the country and placing fear in the minds of many. While this isn’t the first time Latinos have been targeted, the attack represented divisiveness that has once again reared it’s ugly head. 

Yet instead of living in fear, the best response can only be one of visibility and solidarity. The truth of the matter is that Latinos never needed government validation or permission to share our heritage, no matter what month of the year it may be. 

Rather than waste a month grasping onto what others perceive us as, we should embrace our own stories and bring to light the issues we face everyday. In reality, no month long celebration will ever validate our experiences or our stories. But as long as we have the platform, let’s make the best use of it and share our own narratives for once. 

READ: Latinos Are Still Waiting For Their Own Movie Moment As Hollywood Tries Casting More Diverse Films

Pepe Aguilar Is Spreading Norteña Culture Across The US In Sold Out Venues And We Stan Hard

Entertainment

Pepe Aguilar Is Spreading Norteña Culture Across The US In Sold Out Venues And We Stan Hard

Pop music is far more complex and deeper than Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift (no offence, ladies). In a multicultural society like the United States, we have to rethink what we consider as mainstream. This term is generally used for artists whose work is consumed by Anglo audiences. Think about it, an African-American rapper “breaks into the mainstream” when white folk start paying attention, right? Otherwise, the artist is just “niche”. That is why we gotta reconsider what “mainstream” means when it comes to Latino artists and shows. 

Which brings us to Pepe Aguilar, perhaps one of the most popular singers in the planet and who is taking Mexico and the United States by storm with his Mexican rodeo extravaganza “Jaripeo Sin Fronteras”. The show brings together charreria, songs and a good doses of good old Mexican pride. 

So who is Pepe Aguilar? (as if you didn’t know, right?) 

Credit: Instagram. @pepeaguilar_oficial

His full name is José Antonio Aguilar Jiménez and he is Mexican-American as it comes. He was born in San Antonio, Texas, while his parents were on tour. He was raised in Zacatecas, where he first became a rock musician and had a band called Equs, which was influenced by the likes of Pink Floyd and The Who! Can you imagine that? Well, one thing led to another and he ended up going back to his Mexican roots and becoming one of the best-selling ranchera acts of all time. 

He is, of course, the son of the late great Tony Aguilar.

Credit: Instagram. @pepeaguilar_oficial

Pepe Aguilar has ranchera en la sangre. He is the son of Antonio Aguilar and Flor Silvestre, two legendary musicians in their own right. Tony Aguilar was also a strong presence in the Mexican film industry. Aguilar senior recorded over 150 albums, which sold over 25 million copies. Can you get more mainstream than that? Well, Pepe is making sure that the family legacy lives on. 

Introducing Jaripeo Sin Fronteras!

Credit: Instagram. @pepeaguilar_oficial

This amazing show has Pepe Aguilar as the lead, but includes acts by his kids Angela (what a voice on this lady!), Leonardo and Antonio Aguilar Jr. Marichis and rodeo acts are also included of course! The show is touring non-stop in 2019 in both sides of the border, bringing a message of unity. Just look at what they did in Mexico City.

Let’s not forget that for the Aguilar family showbiz is like second nature.

Credit: Instagram. @pepeaguilar_oficial

The show just flows like the musical blood that runs through those Aguilar veins. This is Pepe with his brother, perhaps the only Aguilar not deep into showbiz! In an interview for CE Noticias Financieras, Guadalupe Pineda, the famous Mexican singer and Pepe’s cousin, says of him: “Pepe is a great dad, he’s doing the best for every one of his kids. As an aunt, you simply know and feel that we can all be wrong and that the boy is very young and has every right in the world to get ahead”. 

So, of course, the show includes the next generation of Aguilar talent!

Credit: Instagram. @angelicaguilar_mxfan

Angela Aguilar followed the family tradition of being born while on tour. She came into the world in Los Angeles while her mother was accompanying Pepe Aguilar on tour. And you can tell that musical talent is there. Her version of “Shallow” is enough to make anyone cry! And she had Lady Gaga’s blessing, as Angela said in the Mexican TV show Ventaneando: “Suddenly I’m playing the piano trying to practice and concentrate. Lady Gaga said yes, practice, you’re going to sing it. Oh, my God, I’m going to die! I mean, Lady Gaga knows who I am is like. wow!”.

The show includes all sorts of equine acts, and the horses are quite unique.

Credit: Instagram. @pepeaguilar_oficial

Some of the amazing horses in the show are shaved by the amazing Rob Ferrell, a barber who is so dexterous with the blade he is able to imprint a Mexican aguila y serpiente on the equine’s skin. You can look at his work (on human and horse surfaces!) here: https://www.instagram.com/robtheoriginal/  

The show has been a sold-out in localities North and South of the Border.

Credit: Instagram. @pepeaguilar_oficial

Look at the Honda Center in Anaheim: un lleno total, carajo! Pepe Aguilar is a consummate businessman and he knows that every city is slightly different. He explained the concept to Billboard: “It’s basically a modular concept, where you can change the pieces. The fundamental parts are the horse shows and the Mexican traditions. In some cities we’ll have special guests, in others, only the family is going to perform”. There are still some dates available this year: 

September 20 — Atlanta, Georgia @ Infinite Energy Center

September 22 — Chicago, Illinois @ Allstate Arena

September 27 — Tacoma, Washington @Tacoma Dome

Even if you are not a fan of ranchera culture, you have to admit the show is quite spectacular: the whole Aguilar family makes an appearance, look at Leonardo riding that horse.

Credit: YouTube. @STO

Leonardo is the latest success story in “La Dinastía Aguilar”. He has been nominated for two Latin Grammys despite his tender age: only 20 and he is already a great act. He released his first record when he was only 12-years-old, Nueva Tradición, a collaboration with his sister Angela.

And of course Pepe Aguilar has been super amazing with fans, because that is just who he is.

Credit: YouTube / Los Angeles Times

You don’t get to be on top and stay on top without being an approachable and kind celebrity. Pepe Aguilar knows well who pays his wages: the millions of fans that love him and his multi talented family. 

And of course Mexican cities are embracing the show with sold out venues.

Credit: Instagram. @pepeaguilar_oficial

Jaripeo sin Fronteras has had a huge appeal in Mexico, which tells us that being “Mexican” goes beyond national borders. No one cares Pepe Aguilar was born in the United States: we share one identity and one heart. 

So can haters admit Mexican culture is mainstream now?

Credit: YouTube / Los Angeles Times

Jaripeo sin Fronteras has performed in the main arenas of almost every major city in the United States. See what we meant with rethinking what mainstream means?

And yeah, those are some of the most beautiful caballitos we have ever seen.

Credit: YouTube / Los Angeles Times

Just look at those ojitos pispiretos, beautiful beasts. And as Billboard reports, no animals are harmed, so worry not: “Pepe, who rides several of his Andalusian horses in his own equestrian performance, also specifies that no animals are hurt during this tour”.