A Collection of Day of the Dead Songs

A Collection of Day of the Dead Songs

Inside: The best Day of the Dead Songs, or canciones para Día de Muertos. 

 

With Día de Muertos drawing near, I’ve pulled together a variety of songs to use at home or in the classroom and add this link to my Spanish songs for kids page. These songs may be fun to sing, and the images are a great springboard for discussions about the holiday.

If you’re looking for an entire collections of resources and ideas for Day of the Dead, check out my Día de Muertos activities post as well! I’ve gots lots of links to free resources and ideas for celebrating or teaching traditions. 

 

Day of the Dead Songs for Kids

 

We’ll start off with some options for a younger crowd! These are a mix of traditional songs, and learners songs designed to teach about the holiday.

(Honestly, I am not sure how much I would show with really young kids. It seems like it would be hard to share without lots of English to explain what we are watching, and that some families might be uncomfortable with the graveyard images. However, you know your class and context! I am sharing these so you know your options, and can plan accordingly!)

 

Los Esqueletos – Chumbala

 

I like this one for the very clear singing voice, and the graphics are sweet too. (It works in telling time too, by describing what they do the night of Día de Muertos.) Though it portrays the calaveras in a whimsical way, the graveyard backyard might be scary. 

 

Las Calaveras – Chumbala

 

Another version of Chumbala, with slight different lyrics. 

 

 

Día de los Muertos

 

This song from Rockalingua is an introduction to Día de Muertos — the date, location, activities, etc. The music slogs a little, but still comprehensible and the graphics are useful when working with kids. 

 

El Día de Los Muertos

 

Another comprehensible Day of the Dead song for introducing what the day is about, the graphics here are also helpful for teaching. I didn’t love the music itself, and feel like it doesn’t coincide with the cultural context of the holiday. 

 

Tumbas Por Aquí Tumbas Por Allá

 

This one is a littler creepier, and sort’ve falls under the Halloween category too. 

 

 

Recuérdame – Coco

 

How could I not include music from Coco? Here are two different version, both of which includes scenes from the movie. 

 

Day of the Dead Songs for Teens or Adults

 

Here are some options for older students or adults as well!

 

Calaverita – La Santa Cecilia

 

This is a Day of the Dead classic: a lively song with a comprehensible chorus. Kara Jacobs has some fantastic resources that go with this song too! Just a heads up that Donald Trump appears briefly in one scene– this was before he was elected president, but it may feel political for some.

 

Recuérdame – Natalia Lafourcade

 

I love this re-mix of Recuérdame from Natala Lafourcade. It includes scenes from Coco, mixed in with scenes of Lafourcade singing and Day of the Dead contexts. Really lovely, folksy version that includes lyrics. 

 

Recuérdame – Natalia Lafourcade

 

A traditional Mexican folk song, this is not exactly a Day of the Dead song, but it fits in with themes of death, and the afterlife. This story is difficult for me to hear or teach (rooted in a story of a jilted woman who drowns her children and then forever after haunts her former lover and weeps for her children), so be aware of that if you use this. 

 

Cumbia de los Muertos – Ozomatli

 

In a totally different musical genre, here’s a cumbia twist on Día de Muertos with some reggae thrown in. It also includes an English portion. (I’ve included two version below.)

 

 

 

Day of the Dead Songs

Happy Birthday Songs in Spanish

Happy Birthday Songs in Spanish

Inside: Different versions Happy Birthday songs in Spanish, on YouTube.

In English, the song Happy Birthday is a staple at any birthday celebration– and wherever you go, it will basically sound the same. In Spanish, however, there are different versions, and they vary by country as well.

Here in Peru, for example, you’d better be prepared if you’re the cumpleañero! You’ll be sung at least three different songs, including Happy Birthday in English, before you get to blow those candles out. Though you say feliz cumpleaños to directly wish someone a Happy Birthday in Spanish, the words get switched to cumpleaños feliz in most cases, to fit the cadence of the song.

 

I’ll share several ways to sing to someone on their birthday, and you can pick your favorite. I wish there were a good version with lyrics on YouTube to recommend for free, but the pickings are slim. If you have more suggestions, let me know in the comments below for sure. 

If you are a classroom teacher, and would like to have quick, nice version with lyrics for your students to follow, you may want to look into this $5 version from Minute by Minute Spanish, which includes several regional options. 

 

If you prefer just to sing without music, here are the lyrics to some simple versions:



Cumpleaños, feliz,

Cumpleaños, feliz,
Cumpleaños feliiiiz,
Cumpleaños feliz.


Cumpleaños feliz
Te deseamos a ti
Que los cumplas feliz
Cumpleaños feliz



Cumpleaños, feliz,

Cumpleaños, feliz,
Te deseamos todos,
Cumpleaños feliz.


 

Happy Birthday Songs in Spanish

 

Let’s get started on our tour of Feliz Cumpleaños songs in YouTube, with option for kids to adults!

 

1. Cumpleaños Feliz with Lyrics

 

*Update!!* An awesome reader just sent me this link, which actually does show the lyrics during the song. WIN!

Cumpleaños feliz,
Cumpleaños feliz,
Te deseamos todos,
Cumpleaños feliz.

 

2. Cumpleaños Feliz – Canción Infantil

This one has a nice audio of children singing, though the images are a bit outdated!

Cumpleaños feliz,
Te deseamos a ti, 
Que los cumplas felices,
Cumpleaños feliz. 

 

3. Happy Birthday – Spanish Version

 

A slower version, sung by adults. Here are the lyrics:

Cumpleaños feliz,
Te deseamos a ti, 
Que los cumplas en tu día,
Que los cumplas feliz. 

 

 

4. Cumpleaños Feliz en Español

 

The graphics and lyrics are great in this version, though the audio is a little hard to sing along to.

Cumpleaños feliz,
Cumpleaños feliz,
Te deseamos todos,
Cumpleaños feliz.

 

5. Las Mañanitas

 

Work in some beautiful, cultural music with Las Mañanitas, traditionally sung on birthdays in Mexico and other Spanish-speaking places. 

 

And with lyrics:

6. Cumpleaños Feliz – Kids Songs

 

This one *does* show the lyrics, but unfortunately also show wine on the table! You may still want to use the audio, so here are the lyrics:

Cumpleaños feliz,
Cumpleaños feliz,
Te deseamos todos,
Cumpleaños feliz.

 

7. Festeja Tu Cumpleaños

 

Another version that sings Que los cumplas feliz, mixed in with an original version from Plim Plim.

 

8. Cumpleaños Feliz – Tambor Urbano

 

 

9. Feliz Cumpleaños

 

An original mix from Toobys. If you introducing vocabulary related to birthday, it includes words like pastel, globos, velitas, regalos, etc. 

 

10. Rompe La Piñata – Dale, Dale, Dale

 

You could also include traditional songs that are sung for the piñata part of a birthday party.

 

 

 

And just for fun– a bonus video poking fun and how long it take to sing all the songs in most countries! Maybe not for class, but a funny watch:

 

 

Do you know of any good Happy Birthday songs in Spanish that I missed? Let me know in the comments!

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Happy Birthday Songs in Spanish

Spanish Parts of the Body Songs for Kids

Spanish Parts of the Body Songs for Kids

Inside: Spanish parts of the body songs: a list for kids on YouTube.

 

Here are my favorite songs for learning the parts of the body in Spanish. There are lots of games that work well with this theme, too, like Simón dice. Once your classes know the basic parts of the body, brain breaks are super easy to do! Give commands like “tócate la cabeza” or “cierra los ojos,” and stay in the target language more easily. 

 

Spanish Parts of the Body Songs

 

1. A mi burro

 

This authentic song in Spanish includes some body parts (cabeza, cuello, corazón) . It also repeats “le duele” a lot, if you’re teaching how to express that something hurts. 

 

 

2. Cabeza, hombros, rodillas y pies

 

Most kids already know this one in English, and it’s a fun one to teach as the pace gets faster and faster. 

 

 

3. Saco una manito

 

To learn about hands, this is a sweet classic. It’s nice to use right before story time or circle time when we want everyone sitting with hands in their own space!

 

 

4. Todo mi cuerpo

 

These lyrics are similar to “cabeza, hombros, rodillas, pies,” but with more high frequency parts. As always with Calico Spanish, the song is easy to understand. 

 

 

5. Baila la cumbia

 

Get in some culture with this fun mix of cumbia and body parts!

 

spanish body parts songs

15 Powerful Spanish Songs About Immigration

15 Powerful Spanish Songs About Immigration

Inside: Spanish songs about immigration: a playlist. 

 

While researching for a post on immigration, I decided to look into songs. And wow– I came across some amazing music. These shouldn’t be missed, so I’m devoting a whole post to them. 

I think it’s hard to teach a unit on immigration. If you have a large population of immigrant families, the topic obviously hits close to home. For other classrooms, the temptation to apply stereotypes and generalize is huge. If our resources are lopsided, just one story gets told: it’s easy for students to walk away assuming every undocumented immigrant has a similar back story, or that most immigrants are undocumented.

In reality, people move countries for varied reasons, and under many circumstances. With these songs, I hope to offer more than “one story,” so your students can connect to varied artistic voices and perspectives.

(If you’re looking for more lists, see my Songs in Spanish page.)

 

Spanish Songs About Immigration

 

I attempted to attach a level to each song– hopefully it’s accurate. By saying a song is novice-high, I don’t mean that a NH student will immediately understand every word. I mean that with some teacher support, the song will be useful and largely comprehensible. The students could read it over it and get the gist. 

(PLEASE be mindful that several songs here will be difficult to watch, especially for families that have been affected by deportation experiences.)

 

1. Pobre Juan

 

Maná wrote this song in 2002, around the time that border crossings were at an all-time high. It’s written in story-form, and heavy. Maná says this: 

Pobre Juan” … es una triste realidad que sucede todos los días, una historia de Juan y miles de inmigrantes mexicanos y Latinoamericanos que fallecen en la lucha de cruzar la frontera (y) fallecen o desaparecen.

(Level: Intermediate-Low and up, narrated in past tense.)

 

 

2. Fronteras – Gaby Moreno 

 

While not officially an immigration song, the themes (“fronteras,” “esperanza,” and “yo pertenezco aquí“) lend themselves well to the topic. The song shows scenes and stories from Guatemala, which is where was Gaby Moreno was born before relocating to the U.S.

I like using this one because it offers hopeful language and music, while showing beautiful scenes and strong characters from Guatemala. 

(Level: Novice-High and up, mostly present tense.)

 

 

3. Un Besito Más – Jesse y Joy 

 

This one is powerful. Un Besito Más shows the story of a couple attempting to make a new life in the U.S. after crossing the border, and the terrible complications of children who have citizenship being separated from undocumented parents. It’s written from the perspective of a child who stayed in the U.S. after her parents were deported.

(Level: Novice-High and up. Lots of imperfect tense and present tense.)

 

While working with this song, I made some slides with screenshots from the video that narrate the story, using mostly past tenses. Feel free to use! (The editable version is available as part of my Voces de los inmigrantes Song Pack.) 

 

 

4. ICE El Hielo – La Santa Cecilia

 

Ice El Hielo gets a bit more political, and was produced as part of the #Not1More series. The video shows vignettes of Latino immigrants living the U.S., who later get taken by ICE and deported. Hard to watch, for sure, but reflects the reality and uncertainty of living and working without documents here. 

(Level: Novice-High and up, with support. Mix of tenses.)

 

I also made some slides for this one, using simple language for novices, in the present tense. Feel free to use! (The editable version is also available as part of my Voces de los inmigrantes Song Pack.) 

 

 

5. Ave Que Emigra

 

Another Gaby Moreno favorite, this song describes her personal experience of emigrating to the U.S. 

“Recuerdos desde mi infancia
Que a veces parten el alma
Mi Guate nunca la olvido
La llevo siempre conmigo…”

(Level: Intermediate-Low and up, due to some low-frequency phrases. The video works well for discussing present life vs. past experiences.)

 

 

6. A Las Tres – Enanitos Verdes 

 

A Las Tres is written from the perspective of an immigrant working far away from his family, and sending money home to support them. This is a powerful perspective on the conflict of wanting (or needing) the opportunities found in the U.S., while yearning for home. 

(Level: Novice-Mid and up. Mainly present tense and comprehensible phrasing.)

 

7. Mis Dos Patrias – Los Tigres del Norte

 

Los Tigres del Norte have several immigration-themed songs (Mojados Tres Veces, Jaula de Oro), but I included this one because it explores a lightly different theme: actually living in the this, as a new citizen, and feeling split between two identities.

(Level: Novice-High and up, I think. With some support upfront, the song is pretty accessible.)

 

 

Songs 1-7 are available part of my Voces de los inmigrantes Song Pack. Check it out if you’d like some ready-to-go printables and activities, or keep scrolling!

 

8. Papeles Mojados – Chambao

 

If you want something outside the typical Latino-US box, here’s your immigration song in Spanish. 

(Level: Intermediate- Mid and up.)

 

9. Pa’l Norte – Calle 13 

 

Use this one with caution in class– preview for sure. It’s one of the most provoking songs out there, both in the video and lyrics. 

Hoy me voy Pa’l norte sin pasaporte
Sin transporte
A pie, con las patas
Pero no importa este hombre se hidrata
Con lo que retratan mis pupilas
Cargo con un par de paisajes en mi mochila
Cargo con vitamina de clorofila
Cargo con un rosario que me vigila
Sueño con cruzar el meridiano

(Level: Intermediate-Low or Mid and up, with lots of metaphorical language.)

 

 

10. El Inmigrante – Calibre 50

 

Piensan que por que brinque la linea
Soy un narcotraficante
Ya basta de mil humillaciones
Nomas por ser “inmigrante”
Estoy cantando por toda mi gente

(Level: Intermediate-Low and up.)

 

11. El Mojado – Ricardo Arjona

 

El Mojado takes on the term “wetback,” though it’s worth noting that the word in Spanish doesn’t carry quite the same connotations. He describes the experience and anxiety of living without papers in the U.S.

(Level: Intermediate-Low and up.)

 

12. “Shock” in Arizona – Ana Tijoux

 

A song of protest to abuses of power and discrimination in the American southwest. 

(Level: Intermediate-High and up.)

 

 

13. Lágrimas del Corazón – Grupo Montéz De Durango

 

A tribute to the fathers who leave their children behind to work and send money home, the lyrics switch between a son and a father who are apart. 

(Level: Intermediate-Low and up.)

 

14. Bandera – Aterciopelados

 

A gripping commentary on immigration, privilege and power. 

(Level: Novice-High and up.)

 

 

15. Clandestino – Manu Chao

 

Reggae-style, this song tells the story about being termed “cladestino” for not having papers. Contains the word marihuana

(Level: Intermediate-Low and up.)

 

 

 

What immigration songs in Spanish did I miss? Leave your suggestions in the comments below. 

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Spanish songs about immigration

 

Authentic Spanish Songs with Commands

Authentic Spanish Songs with Commands

Inside: Authentic songs in Spanish with commands (or mandatos). 

 

Here I’ve collected authentic songs with examples of commands. When students hear language over and over, in context, they pick up the forms more easily. If you teach explicit grammar, it’s much easier to explain verbs when the students already have examples you can reference. 

This list is heavy on the affirmative commands, so I will keep looking for more negative examples. (If you’re looking for more lists of Songs in Spanish by theme and category, I have a TON you can browse through or save for later.)

 

Spanish Songs with Commands

 

1.  Madre Tierra – Chayanne

 

A positive, environmental-themed song that has positive tú commands, mainly in the chorus. Preview the video below for the dancing, and use the second video instead if you need to. 

 

 

 

2. Te Mueves Tú, Se Mueven Todos – Ha*Ash, Reik, David Bisbal

 

So many great examples of commands here- positive, negative, tú form, nosotros. Such a fun one, to!

 

 

3. Dímelo – Marc Antony 

 

Dímelo by Marc Antony is nice because there aren’t many lyrics, and everything gets repeated. The song includes a negative command (no me dejes), a positive one (ven), and a positive with two pronouns (dímelo). 

 

 

4. Di Que No Te Vas – Morat

 

This one isn’t as packed with mandatos as the other songs here. Mira and di get repeated over and over again, so it may work as a very introductory song with an example of a regular and irregular verb in the tú command form. 

 

5. Dile al Amor – Aventura 

 

This bachata classic has your commands in the 3rd-person form (speaking to Love, actually). And soooo many reps of dale and dile

 

6. Abrázame

 

Abrázame has a lot of examples of commands with the pronoun attached at the end (abrázame, quédate, dame), with infinitives + pronoun. If you want to make that connection or contrast the examples, this song would be helpful.

 

 

7. Dímelo – Enrique Iglesias

 

You’ll need to preview and make a decision on this one. The original video is DEFINITELY not school-appropriate… BUT, the lyrics are perfect for commands. Your call!

 

 

9. Recuérdame – Coco (Carlos Rivera)

 

Who doesn’t love a song from Coco? The only command is “recuérdame,”  but you’ll hear it again and again. And…. Coco.

 

10. Olvídame y Pega la Vuelta – Jennifer Lopez y Marc Antony

 

Cheese it up with these duets. The second one has more negative commands!

 

 

11. Sé Chévere – Sr. Wooly

 

Not strictly “authentic,” but THE BEST SONG EVER for commands. Your students will love you for showing this one. 

 

 

What Spanish songs with commands did I miss? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

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Spanish song with commands

 

Authentic Spanish Songs with the Subjunctive Mood

Authentic Spanish Songs with the Subjunctive Mood

Inside: The best Spanish songs with the subjunctive mood. 

 

The subjunctive is one of the harder forms to master. I still mess it up, especially when speaking about the past! 

But let’s not make the mistake of leaving it entirely to Spanish 3 or 4. You can still slip it in (¡Que tengas un buen día!), and this song list is ready whenever you’d like to emphasize the subjunctive mood. 

(If you’re looking for more lists of Songs in Spanish by theme and category, I have a TON you can browse through or save for later.)

Let’s take a tour of our top picks!

 

Spanish Songs with Subjunctive

 

Songs in the present subjunctive are at the beginning, and you can find the imperfect subjunctive near the end of the list. 

 

1. Sueños – Diego Torres

 

This is a really happy, catchy song full of the subjunctive mood. (Mostly in the context of “quiero que…”)

 

2. A Dios Le Pido – Juanes 

 

One of the most iconic Juanes songs out there, the subjunctive here is triggered by a request/desire. This one is PACKED with subjunctive verbs!

 

 

3. Azul – Natalia Lafourcade 

 

Azul has themes you could discuss at length with advanced classes. You’ll find the subjunctive triggered by the form of “tengo miedo que…”

 

 

4. Ojalá Que Llueva Café – Juan Luis Guerra

 

Here you can find a lot of the Ojalá que + verbs, in the context of a social-justice oriented song. 

 

6. Sólo Le Pido a Dios

 

With Sólo Le Pido a Dios, you’re exposing your students to the subjunctive while giving them an amazing dose of the best of Latino culture. There are many, many covers of this song. I’ve included a few below– it might be nice to listen and compare versions. 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Que Suenen los Tambores – Victor Manuelle 

 

It’s almost impossible to listen to this one without dancing. There’s a ton of the subjunctive mood, mixed in with a lot of commands.

 

 

7. Exigimos – Doctor Krapula

 

I am *not* very good at branching out into diverse genres, so here’s my attempt. If your class like punk rock, they’ll love this one and it’s message of making the planet & world a better place. 

 

 

8. Sería Feliz – Julieta Vengas 

 

If you’re moving into the imperfect subjunctive, this is a good one to start with. Includes examples of si ______, sería feliz. 

 

 

9. Si No Te Hubieras Ido

 

There are lots of version of this one! I’m including my favorites. It’s only one line that has the huberias ido phrase, but it’s a memorable one and might be a good introduction to the imperfect subjunctive. 

 

 

 

10. Si Yo Fuera un Chico – Beyoncé

 

This will definitely be a conversation starter and a memorable way to learn “fuera.” There’s a lot of conditional, as well .

 

 

 

What subjunctive songs did I miss? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

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