I’d like to call this my meaningful Ecuadorian playlist as these songs are not necessarily my favorite, but each triggers a significant memory during my experience here.
(note: most of these songs aren’t actually by an Ecuadorian artist)
By: Everyone (Jokiwas)
For me Wiskisito has to be the most quintessential Ecuadorian song. When I write its by ‘Everyone’, I’m not referring to a group, I mean just about every indigenous music group features this as their #1 hit single; big music festivals here are always fun as groups come from provinces all around the country…to show off their rendition of Wiskisito (This version by the ‘Jokiwas’ is my personal favorite as it showcases a ‘Funky Town’ and ‘Down Under’ violin solo for no apparent reason).
This is a song that I heard my first day in host community and will hear up until my very last day; for that it is inseparable to my bridge-year experience in Ecuador.
If you are wondering what the lyrics mean, the song expresses the globally agreed message that: Trago(cheap liquor) I don’t want to drink /I don’t want water/ I want whiskey (wiskisito)
Bajo el Agua
By: Manuel Medrano
At my first host family, my younger sister of 17 owned a set list of the most randomly compiled music. Among the Bruno Mars and flute music that we hardly ever played, this song was endlessly put on repeat. As she played Bajo el Agua times over in her room, I listened intently to pick up lyrics in order to find it myself.
The time at my first host family was incredibly tough and among the lowest I felt during my experience here. Much of that time has faded from my memory as I moved on to more interesting and enjoyable points in my experience; however, I believe that time was incredibly valuable and very much worth remembering; this song helps me put myself back in that experience where I was challenged and where I learned about myself.
This is song is my favorite on this list and might actually be my favorite Ecuadorian song (bonus points for actually being by an Ecuadorian artist). A go to shower song for me and just a fun song to throw on. It has been known to get my Aunt to dance bomba with her 11 month baby and make a fellow fellow’s host mom sing and dance while doing the dishes. If you find the time to watch the video, it features a bridge (bridge year amirite) and a soccer field; just a few weeks back we played carnival (water and paint street fight) on that very field that sits a few minutes walk from a fellow’s home.
By: Luis Fonsi
One of the major changes I noticed when I switched host families was the difference in music and the way music was listened to. In my first weeks at host fam pt2 my older brother bumped this song and other reggaeton music out of the home speaker system. Compared to the quiet house I was coming from, this came as a welcomed surprise. Starting with Despacito, I have spent many an hour sharing and listening to music with my brothers, helping develop our relationship.
As my oldest brother, who weekly visits the clubs/discotecas, says, you learn a lot about a girl based on how she dances Despacito. (Parental Advisory for those who translate the lyrics)
As I just wrote, I accredit much of the development of my relationships with my brothers through sharing of music. For my older brother, this started with him blasting the reggaeton music that he dances to during his weekend trips to the discotecas. However, it took a bit longer for my less macho younger brother to show me his preferred music, such as Coincidir. I remember sitting on the dinner table one night when he asked my older brother to turn off his loud music and play this song. Through their differing personalities (which you can get an idea of just comparing these two songs) I have developed very different, but equally meaningful relationships (and been introduced to many different styles of music).
Maybe my best story on the list: I first heard this song from my host cousin during my younger brother’s birthday party. Here at GCY there are strict rules about having relationships with host siblings, however, I am not familiar with the rules about host cousins…
At said birthday party my cousin approached my host mom and me and asked if I could take her out to the discotecas the coming Saturday. Being that I was clearly uncomfortable, my host cousin effectively serenaded me with Safari. It did get me out the clubs that Saturday, which qualified as our first (and last) date and I was able to get a personal look at what clubs are like here in Ecuador (not my fav).
Unfortunately word spread quickly through my incredibly close family (two pairs of aunts and uncles, cousins, and a grandma in the same house) and I have been sentenced to endure endless banter for my date with my host cousin.
Romeo Santos has this thing of making way overly romantic music…even by Latin American standards. I love his music for how it sounds, but it often gets me into trouble: I can’t exactly play it in my house without taking a bit of heat from my brothers, aunts and uncles. Whether they think I’m singing ‘you’re mine’ to my host cousin, a girl from home, or some long lost lover, I’ve learned that if you’re seen listening to Romeo, you’re in love.
Cambio de Fuego
Every two weeks or so, I go to a little religious gathering with my host family and some of their close friends. As you can see from the video below, they can be pretty fun; very limited bible reading and highlighted by singing and dancing to fun songs like Cambio de Fuego. Fun bonus is that these nights always end with a banquet of excellent food.
Note: usually the crowd is more fun…tough turnout that night (featuring my host mom in the front and my host brother pretending to clap)
I was introduced to this song by our weekly Spanish teacher, Noemi and it serves as a nice reminder that the 80’s affected even Spanish speaking countries. As our Spanish levels have improved, Noemi has assigned fun classes such as deciphering music. Among the pop and reggaeton, Noemi found a place for one of her childhood favorites, Vuela Vuela. Please do yourself a favor and watch the music video of this keystone boy band.