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  • Damaris Chanza

The Soundtrack For Mami's Birthday

Today is the birthday of one of my favorite Hispanics in all of history, my mom.

My mom has had an extraordinary life and is an excellent mother to my siblings and me, so every year, we strive to make her birthday extra special.

Mami, as I call her, was one of the first people to inspire my love of art. She would sketch flowery vines on old envelopes and let me paint on pieces of paper that she would fold into airplanes. She would play music so loud there was no way to avoid singing and dancing around filled with joy. Mami’s favorite music is romantic. The type of music she loves most is all the lovey-dovey lyrics with melodies that make you want to sway from side to side in bliss.

In honor of Mami’s love for music, I want to highlight some of her favorite Hispanic musicians and songs.

Gloria Trevi

Background: She is a Mexican singer who started in a girl group and was eventually dubbed the Madonna of Mexico. After her very public arrest, she revamped her career by singing and acting in telenovelas.

Notable Songs: Pelo Suelto, Zapatos Viejos

Mami’s free spirit and inner rebel shine when listening to Gloria Trevi’s earlier work, and her newer work embodies the romantic music Mami is known for playing too loudly.

Selena Quintanilla

Background: She is a Mexican-American Tejano singer known for performing with her siblings in the band Selena y Los Dinos and her urgency to cross into English music. She was tragically murdered at 23 but left an incredible discography as her legacy.

Notable Songs: Bidi Bidi Bom Bom, Amor Prohibido, Como La Flor, Baila Esta Cumbia, Dreaming of You

Whether it be to dance or sing and sway with her hands on her chest, Mami makes sure Selena is played for every occasion.

Marc Anthony

Background: He is a Puerto Rican salsa singer and one of if not the top-selling salsa artists, winning countless awards for his work.

Notable Songs: Vivir Mi Vida, Aguanille, I Need to Know

On one of our trips to Puerto Rico, we listened to Vivir Mi Vida o repeat in a beat-up old car with no ac as we drove around the island. When it comes to music, Mami has always encouraged us to feel all the joy music offers.


Background: She is a Colombian – Lebanese singer and dancer known for her unique voice and belly dancing.

Notable Songs: Hips Don’t Lie, Beautiful Liar, Waka Waka, She Wolf

When Mami is fond of a song, she always insists on playing it on repeat. She’ll put YouTube on the Tv and play the music or lyric video at an ungodly volume while she works or does chores. I will never forget the number of times the She Wolf music video hummed in the background in our home.

Daddy Yankee

Background: He is a Puerto Rican rapper and singer best known for helping popularize Reggaeton, an urban Puerto Rican genre mixing hip hop, reggae, and bomba y plena.

Notable Songs: Gasolina, Con Calma, Rompe, Shaky Shaky, Limbo

I have two distinct memories of Mami listening to Daddy Yankee: her shimmying in my direction with her arms up to Shaky Shaky and her yelling across a room for the DJ to play Limbo. That should tell you all you need to know about my mom.

I hope all of Mami’s favorite music plays during her special day. Happy Birthday.

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