si no tiene nada, nada nos dará, que lo que queremos es cariño y bondad.

Los Aguadillanos – Si Me Dan Pasteles

Last December, Chicago, everything freezing. Wayne took me to a cafe around the corner from his place — it was a Puerto Rican spot, and they were playing this beautiful music — aguinaldos. Lighthearted Christmastime songs with nimble acoustic guitars. Villancicos are the religious-themed carols. Los aguinaldos are their somewhat secular counterpart, entangled in a tradition of roving night parties called parrandas (not unlike carolling? do people still carol? did they ever? where?) .


[Navidad en el Tropico: Los Trovadores de Puerto Rico album cover]

A strong distinction between aguinaldos & villancicos doesn’t exist, although the terms aren’t as expansive as the nearby American category of ‘Christmas songs’ which can range from deeply religious hymns to adolescent sing-a-longs about flying livestock and a fat white man, old but mythically fertile, who surrounds himself with children in the wilderness, counting superhuman moral acumen among his many talents. The subject matter overrides the music’s stylistic genre too, and it’s seasonal. We have nothing else like it.

here’s a gift of several aguinaldos from Puerto Rico and an old Spanish villancico.

– ? (Spanish Villancicos LP rip)

Jose A. Salaman – La Mania (“listen to me, buddy – stop being neurotic, dance with your girl, I dance with mine… I’m warning you, for that obsession, many have ended in a cold grave”)

Julita Ross – Esta Navidad

Tonin Romero – De Tierras Lejanas

Ramito – A Los Boricanos


De Tierras Lejanas


Si Me Dan Pasteles


  1. lovely! but you can’t be cafe colao on a cold winter’s morning for aguinaldo atmospherics.

    thanks for digging this stuff up, esp the MIDI files! as a recent upgrader to ableton7 i couldn’t resist a quick cut’n’paste remix of “pasteles”:

    fayleezy –

  2. season’s greetings from cabra (cordoba), where villancicos are constantly playing and chestnuts are roasting over barrel fires.

  3. People definitely used to carol, and many still do (my own family p.e.)

    But Christmas music from the Caribbean is just the shit (Could it be any other way?) I am partial to some forms of parang, from Trinidad,

    a type of Christmas songs brought to the islands by either monks or Venezuelan cocoa workers. Sang in (somewhat fautly) spanish, I tend to prefer the classic (read acoustic) style, such as los parranderos de uwi

    ..but for the postmodern there are all sorts of electronic soca/parang mixtures as well

  4. Thanks for plenty of nice blogging in 2007!
    Partly out of inspiration from your ever interesting blog I’ve just got around to set up my own. First post is a compilation of music I picked up during my travel in Peru last summer! Not only peruvian stuff though, but rather groovy latin tunes from the 50’s and onwards.

    Check out

    if you are interested and I would be truly honoured!

    All the best,

  5. Answer to Jeronimo:

    How could you make such comment to Caribbean Christmas Music, are you indian? You do not understand cultures and I mean more than one not just your own. For most people seems like Jingle Bells and Oh tannen Baum are the only Christmas music, but fellow there is a whole worl out there. Do you really know anything about music?, cause I really doubt you do. To finish this comment I think that you are a moron!!!

  6. @efrain. Efrain you surely misunderstood me! when “something is shit” means it is bad, when “something is the shit” (notice the *the*) it means you love it! I truly love Caribbean Chistmas Music, why would I post all those links otherwise?

    in peace


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