15 sueños – Playlist

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Several Hispanic and Latino champions over a piano

15 sueños is an engaging Spanish reader that uses comprehensible language, easy to understand for Novice level learners and above.

It features 15 short stories that honor the achievements of fifteen inspiring Hispanic and Latino champions, such as Sonia Sotomayor, Celia Cruz or Diego Rivera.

We've created a playlist that connects each of those champions to a song. In the description below, we explain our choices.
You may want to play these songs while your students read the book, or just as background music while they work on something else.

In any case, we hope you enjoy it!

1 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Drogas (Lupe Fiasco)

Alexandria has her own playlists, which she promotes through her social networks.
The third song of her Congress Playlist is a song in Spanish: Drogas, by Lupe Fiasco.
We've also chosen this song to open our 15 sueños playlist because it mentions many Spanish-speaking places: Texas, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica...

Before you play this song in class, take a look at the lyrics and decide whether it's appropriate for your students, especially the part that says:

Solo rosas, es mejor que la coca
Coca, tranquilo, señorita, ven para ir a Barranquilla

We do not think this song promotes drugs in any way. The word "coca" is also included in the world's most popular soda, and nobody seems to be alarmed by it.
If you don't like this song for your classes, just replace it with Quimbara (Celia Cruz), which is number 46 in Alexa's playlist, or Un verano en Nueva York (El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico), number 47.

2 Diego Rivera: Mi Frida Sufrida (Sergio Arau)

The second chapter of 15 sueños tells the story of Frida and Diego Rivera's first encounter (in 1922), when Diego visited Frida's school to paint a mural.
They got married in 1929, divorced in 1940, and then married again that same year.
This song, by Sergio Arnau, describes the relationship Frida had with Diego:

Tu obsesión fue el corazón, buscabas un amor ciego
Y pusiste tu pasión en la figura de Diego
Un Diego solo un Dieguito era el precio de tu dicha
A pesar de que en amores fuiste todita una ficha

3 Carolina Herrera: De Momento Abril (La Bien Querida)

Carolina Herrera's main connection with music is the songs she plays in her commercials.
Our first idea was to include in our playlist the song Quando, quando, quando, which Carolina Herrera used very successfully in a 2015 commercial.

However, we decided to make a playlist only with Spanish songs, so we had to look for another option.
Carolina Herrera has a playlist on her website, with songs she listens to while she works in her studio.
Most of those songs are in English, but we were surprised to see that the first Spanish song included in such playlist is from La Bien Querida, one of our favorite singers:

4 Leo Messi: El Pie de Oro Llegó (La Banda del Tigre Ariel)

There are several songs about Leo Messi we could have chosen for the fourth story of 15 sueños.
We like El Pie de Oro because our story talks about what "El Balón de Oro" is, and how Messi won it in 2009 after scoring a goal in the Champion's League Final.
This song also uses the word oro, mentions that Messi played for Barcelona, and it can help to make the connection with his 2022 World Cup championship:

El pie de oro llegó
¡Dale Lionel!
Está esperando la gambeta otra vez
¡Dale Lionel!
Queremos ver la magia que traes en tus pies
¡Dale Lionel!

5 Rita Moreno: Preciosa

Rita Moreno won an Oscar Award for her role in West Side Story, the first Oscar for a Latin woman in the history of these awards.
In West Side Story, Rita sings and dances. We have an activity about that movie in the Mi barrio lesson.

In 2015 she published the album Una vez más, that opens with a beautiful song: Preciosa.

6 Celia Cruz: Tu voz

Guantanamera is probably the first song that comes to our minds when we think about Celia Cruz, the queen of salsa music.
However, we chose Tu voz since this is the song Celia was performing when she screamed the word azúcar for the first time on stage.
Why did she shout "azúcar"? That's the story we tell in the sixth story of 15 sueños.

7 Óscar de la Renta: Mi primer millón (Bacilos)

15 sueños is obviously a book about dreams, and dreams are often connected to fame and money.
That's precisely the topic of this song by Bacilos, which says in its final part:

Ya quiero salir de esta bicicleta
Salir a rumbear sin pensar en la cuenta
Comprarte un vestido de Óscar de la Renta
Tranquila, que ahí viene mi primer millón, y como digo yo
Yo solo quiero pegar en la radio

8 Rigoberta Menchú: Carta a Rigoberta Menchú (Celtas Cortos)

We grew up listening to Celtas Cortos, a band that was very successful in the nineties in Spain.
They had great hits such as 20 de abril, Cuéntame un cuento or Tranquilo majete.
We still like those songs, and they all bring back many memories.
We saw them live, and we sang along their catchy lyrics and danced to the celtic rhythms they added to their songs.
Rigoberta Menchú won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992. A year later, Celtas Cortos published this song, inspired by her, to talk about dreams:

Bienvenido, esta es la tierra de los sueños
Cuenta y dime qué es lo quieres soñar
Con mi magia seremos dos compañeros
Por tus sueños, si me invitas a pasar

9 Pablo Picasso: Ay Carmela (Coro Popular Jabalon)

The Spanish Civil War started in 1936. The following year, there was an International Exhibition in Paris, and the Republican government needed a painting for its pavilion that drew attention to the Spanish conflict.
Pablo Picasso was the chosen artist. The story of how he came up with the idea to paint Guernica is what the ninth chapter of 15 sueños is about.
Music was really important during the war. We've chosen one of the most popular songs,Ay Carmela, since it talks -as Picasso's painting- about bombs and feelings:

Pero nada pueden bombas
rumba la rumba la rumba la
donde sobra corazón
¡Ay Carmela! ¡Ay Carmela!

10 Sandra Cisneros: Mango (Natalia Lafourcade)

In the front cover of 15 sueños, we placed number 15 inside a mango.
It's a good symbol to represent Mexico, one of the world's top producers.
The word mango is also present in the title of Sandra Cisnero's most famous book: The House on Mango Street.
There are many songs about this fruit. We've chosen Natalia Lafourcade's Mango because she's from Mexico, the country where Sandra Cisneros currently lives in, and because she's one of our favorite artists.
Her Hasta la raíz album is very powerful, and we really encourage you to give it a try.

11 Quiara Alegría-Hudes: Que Bonita Bandera (Stretch & Bobbito + The M19s Band)

Quiara Alegría-Hudes and Lin-Manuel Miranda were born in the U.S., but both of them have deep roots Puerto Rican roots.
They worked together to write the story of the musical In the Heights, as we explained in chapter 11 of our book 15 sueños.
We could have chosen any song from the musical for this playlist, but once again we were looking for only Spanish songs.
We came to know Que Bonita Bandera while interviewing Edgardo Miranda, the writer of the comic La Borinqueña, for our Mujeres pioneras lesson.
This song has become an anthem for Puerto Rico, and Puerto Ricans in New York, that goes very well with the spirit of In the Heights.

12 Sonia Sotomayor: Que rico suena mi tambor (Fania All-Stars)

Sonia Sotomayor loves music, especially salsa music.
In her biography, My beloved world, she describes on several occasions how her family danced when they got together in her grandma's Bronx appartment.
We've chosen Que rico suena mi tambor because, on this video, we can see the first Latin Supreme Court judge dancing to its beats:

13 Mario Molina: ¿Dónde jugarán los niños? (Maná)

Mario Molina will always be remembered for rising the alarm on the effects that CFC gasses have on our atmosphere's ozone layer.
He won a Nobel Prize for his findings, and he contributed to stop one of the biggest environmental challenges that threaten life on Earth.
He was later deeply engaged in combatting climate change, working along other scienctists and administrators to lead our fight against global warming.
Mana's song ¿Dónde jugarán los niños? has become an environmental anthem, often used by schools and other organizations on Earth's Day.
We think it's the perfect song to honor Mario Molina's ecological actions:

14 Eva Perón: No llores por mí Argentina (Nacha Guevara)

Our chapter about Eva Perón in 15 sueños honors her life and describes her tragic death.
It's a bit of spooky story, perfect for Day of the Dead.
Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote a very successful musical also about her life and death: Evita.
The most famous song from that musical -Don't Cry for Me Argentina- is our choice for the playlist, in the Spanish version sang by Nacha Guevara:

15 José Hernández: Mi Tierra (Gloria Estefan)

The last story of 15 sueños is truly inspiring and beautiful.
José Hernández grew up harvesting fields in California with his family.
They barely spoke English, and they had a really tough life.
José eventually learnt English at school, and studied hard to fulfill his dreams and get away from those fields.
He became an astronaut, and as he was staring at our planet from a spaceship, he wrote the first tweet in Spanish from space.
While he was typing, he listened to Mi Tierra, the song NASA chose to play for him:

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