Coffee runs through the veins of Latin America. As economically and culturally ubiquitous as it is throughout the continent, it’s only natural that it would also be a constant theme in Latin American music. But coffee, present throughout Latin song, is rarely just about a cup of Joe: the drink, along with it’s color and flavor, are often used as a way to discuss sociopolitical realities.
Whether it’s Brazilian music legend Gilberto Gil slamming the landed coffee aristocracy, or Dominican singer Juan Luis Guerra wishing it would rain coffee and food on his economically crippled country, coffee can serve as a way to open eyes to a thousand forbidden conversations.
For even more on the many meanings of coffee in Latin American songs, from sex to socioeconomics to the national culture of the countries where coffee is produced, listen to Alt.Latino’s podcast on coffee songs of Latin America.