Beyond 'Feliz Navidad': Great Holiday Songs En Español

From ballads to carols to cumbias, the realm of holiday songs in Spanish is worth a deep dive. (Photo by Rick Harris/Flickr CC)

Oh 'Feliz Navidad.' We love the song, (tired sigh), we do, AND José Feliciano, the Puerto Rican musician who made it one of the most played Christmas songs in the world.

But there's SO. MUCH. MORE.

We asked our LAist and KPCC colleagues to share their favorite holiday songs in Spanish — and then we made a playlist.

"Anything with Los Panchos," said health reporter Michelle Faust Raghavan.

Higher education reporter Adolfo Guzman Lopez pitched "Amarga Navidad" by José Alfredo Jiménez. "It's a nod to all those who suffer in silence this season," he said.

Take Two producer Lori Galarreta said the songs from the album "Ronda de Pascua" from the children's choir at Colegio Manuel Pardo en Chiclayo, Peru "are pretty much the holiday sounds of my childhood."

For our playlist, we did stray from Spanish with one song: Pink Martini's most excellent rendition of "Ocho Kandelikas." This Hanukkah tune is sung in Ladino, an ancient language derived mainly from Spanish and Hebrew but which also borrows from a handful of other languages. It developed among Spanish Jews and spread after Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492.

From baladas to cumbias, rancheras to villancicos, we think we've put together a darn good holiday playlist en español. And yes, we even included "Feliz Navidad."

"As overplayed as this song is," said broadcast production manager Bianca Ramirez, "it's still a fave of mine." Happy Holidays!


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