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  • Alondra González

Cantos 'pa la carne asada

Updated: Sep 22, 2021

In my last blog post I spoke about women in reggaetón and how it is difficult for women to be as respected as men in the music industry and in the Latinx culture. This time I thought I would talk about one positive aspect of my Mexican heritage which I love and that is carne asadas. Growing up in a Mexican household I experienced carne asadas very often it was definitely an upside because I got to see my cousins on a regular basis and hangout with the rest of my family from all over the states that were in town or just visiting and wanting to join us. While trying to figure how best to explain the type of music at a Latinx or Mexican carne asada I started reminiscing about the environment a carne asada creates and how much fun and things would go on before, while and after eating. So, I have decided to include not only music playlists with hours and hours of music but also to describe and depict how it’s like being at a carne asada with other Latinos. I got so excited and have so much to say that I even chose to include different foods, pastries and beverages that are also part of a carne asada. Hopefully if you’re curious as to what we eat, drink or music we enjoy and dance to you’ll find this blog helpful!


To have a proper and traditional carne asada there must be at least these 4 things present:


1) Family & friends that you actually like lol


When Latinos make a carne asada or deicide to celebrate ANYTHING family is always present. Whether it be a carne asada for a birthday, New Year’s, Christmas, Easter, a baby shower, a wedding, an anniversary, a funeral whatever the case is there will always be family…like A LOT of family. We take pride and joy in knowing that our loved ones are also a part of our milestones big or small. There are people present that may not be family in blood but sure are in spirit and those are the “compadres” and “comadres” of the family.

It is very important to us who we invite to our gatherings because Latinos hold the act of getting together very precious. It’s not just getting together to eat and then leave and go home. No. It’s about the precious time spent in-between adults or kids. The women usually catch up on how the family is doing and discuss all sorts of things in the kitchen prepping the meat and cooking side dishes because nothing is ever ordered everything is always straight out the kitchen. The young ones tend to be outside running around making a lot of noise and getting warned to not get too close to the grill or fire. The cousin or friend groups made of young adults are always inside relaxing and talking about what they’ve been up to. Sometimes the girls will be in one room getting ready doing their hair and makeup talking about their work, school or love lives. The boys in another room playing games on the PS, Xbox and any other console available or will be watching a movie just chilling. The men will be outside grilling the meat, drinking some cold beer, chatting it up and playing the tunes that the whole neighborhood will hear until the last person goes homes which is never before midnight.

I say all of this because family and friends are what make the carne asada so enjoyable and because the more family and friends present the merrier.



2) Food of course (meat & homemade delicacies that complement the main course)


Now cuisine is a main part of the carne asada not just because it tastes, smells and looks good but because of the power it holds. Cultural dishes bring people together both stranger and native, it unites us in ways that words never could. Aside from music which I will talk about shortly most people’s curiosity starts with the cuisine and taste a culture has to offer.

The main course or meat in this case is usually a lot of chicken especially chicken thighs (my favorite, now I’m getting hungry haha). There is also ribs, drumsticks, wings, fajita and tripas or intestines but those are made in a separate set up not the grill. And depending on who is on the grill there may be some grilled onions which you either love or hate. My dad makes grilled onions and they are so good. It sounds weird but it tastes better than it sounds.

Popular complimentary sides and dishes are the classic pico de gallo and guacamole with corn tortilla chips. Although these side dishes are served in smaller proportions they are not eaten as appetizers instead they are eaten with the carne asada. There will almost always be mashed potatoes, corn and rice (the traditional orange looking kind made with Knorr).

For desserts and homemade delicacies, we sometimes have cakes and breads or other types of pastries which then go with ice cream (the 3 colors one or Mexican ice cream from the paletero or local Mexican market). The cakes are simple and regular like most unless it’s a special occasion and someone makes a tres leches cake or an upside-down pineapple cake maybe even some carrot cake and zucchini bread or cheese cake.


3) Beer or some really good drinks


Just like food is important so are the drinks. The drinks don’t just go with the food they keep everyone up and alive or completely out of it jajaja in the best way possible. Beer is the usual because its economical but there is also liquor and wine that presents itself from time to time.

Apart from alcohol there are other drinks which are also straight out of the kitchen like aguas frescas or for a literal translation fresh waters. Aguas frescas are a delicacy because they are made from fruit sometimes home-grown fruit in specific. We have anywhere from the most popular like agua de jamaica and horchata to agua de melon, piña, pepino, mango, sandia, papaya the list goes on and on. These take time to prepare and there are usually several tias that make them and bring them to the host’s home. Depending on what time of year it is there is sometimes cafecito and hot chocolate which always runs out fast. For the kids or anyone in the spirit there is almost always a cooler with coke, Capri Suns and barrilitos which are little sugar drinks for kids in a plastic cup that looks like a barrel hence the name barrilitos.

The funny thing about the ice cold cooler if there aren’t two sperate ones dividing the adult’s drinks from the rest of the beverages is that the cokes are always at the bottom topped by the alcohol and then the occasional barrilitos and Capri Sun if they aren’t also at the bottom. I thinks its funny and i mention this because no one ever wants to be the chosen one to give people their drinks since its painful to dig your hand into a chest filled to the brim with ice every 5 seconds.


4) Music 24/7 to set the mood and drive the party because it’s not just a BBQ it’s a carne asada after all


To start the cookout or carne asada there must always be music but as the mood changes and the sun begins to set the music must also reflect the vibe of the people present drunk, tipsy or sober everyone should enjoy the music. Young or old everyone has a connection with the rhythm and words of the songs. (I write this as I enjoy chicken lo mein, orange chicken and dumplings for dinner haha)

During the day into the late afternoon the type of music played on a speaker or someone’s vehicle stereo system consists of classic cumbias, Norteñas and solo artists. Once it gets dark it’s a different story. But for now, the energy is light so the music should also be forgiving. The grill is just getting started and company is barely starting to arrive so there should be some welcoming tunes to ease everyone into a great mood no matter what type of day everyone had. To start off you can play playlists 6 – 13 since they are more dance type of playlists that will keep the energy up but not have it sounding like a club necessarily.

Then from around 5pm to 10 or 11pm as the sun goes down and the night begins to set, the mood changes to more of a party or club type of vibe that the younger adults will surely enjoy. The music will shift from cumbia and old school solo artists to reggaetón and dembow. Both are enjoyable to dance to or simply vibe to while being with cousins and friends that are easy going. That said this type of music tends to have more foul language so older adults and the elderly may not be huge fans. But that doesn’t stop the young crowd from having fun haha. For this time of evening playlists 4, 5 and the Just for Fun playlist would be ideal since they have a large mixture of both new and veteran artists.

After the food has set in people’s system and the liquor comes out since by then the beer has all finished the music will change to rancheras, corridos, mariachi and the occasional dance music. For this time of night playlists 1 – 3 and Mexican Party Anthems are the best because people will be in their feelings but also want to be uplifted enough to dance with someone and enjoy the rest of the night talking to family and friends.

So, throughout the day and well into the night and next day the music will have gone from a nice cumbia and Norteño mix to dembow and reggaetón to finally rancheras, corridos and mariachi with the exception of some cumbias and huapangos or zapateo music because people like to dance till the sun rises again. And if you for some reason feel overwhelmed with all the playlists or just don’t know which one to play I highly suggest Mexican Party Anthem and the Just for Fun playlists as they are different enough that you wouldn’t have to worry about searching songs up.


Now for the fun stuff!


Some bandas, grupos & conjuntos in these playlists are:


- Los Tigres del Norte

- Los Temerarios

- Calibre 50

- Los Ángeles Azules

- Banda Los Recoditos

- Banda MS

- Los Palominos

- Los Ivansores De Nuevo Leon

- Banda Los Sebastianes

- Los Rehenes

- Intocable

- Conjunto Primavera

- Los Tigrillos

- Fito Olivares y Su Grupo

- Los Bukis

- Los Tucanes De Tijuana

- Bronco

- Los Caminantes

- Voz De Mando

- Grupo Bryndis

- Duelo

- Los Panchos

- Los Tres Caballeros - Control - La Quinta Estacion - Azul Azul - Los Rieleros Del Norte - Grupo Mania - La Mafia - Los Lobos - Los Hermanos Rosario - Grupo Toppaz - La Banda Gorda - Pesado - Los Ángeles De Charly - La Sonora Dinamita - Los Plebeyos - Los Llayras - Grupo Cañaveral De Humberto Pabón - Los Tepoz - Grupo Limite - Banda El Recodo


Some newer grupos and bandas are:


- Mau y Ricky

- Zion y Lennox

- Cumbia Kingz

- Wisin y Yandel

- Mambo Kingz

- Camila

- Maná

- Chino y Nacho

- Calle 13

- Jesse & Joy

- Aventura

- Xtreme


Some solo artists of all genres both OG and fairly new to music are:


- Christian Nodal

- Selena

- Luis Coronel

- Daddy Yankee

- Nicky Jam

- Marc Anthony

- Fanny Lu

- Celia Cruz

- Tito “El Bambino”

- Catarino Leos

- Romeo Santos

- Carlos Vives

- El Cata

- Elvis Crespo

- Luis Miguel

- Big Boy

- Angel Lopez

- Juanes

- Carlos Baute

- Elvis Crespo

- Prince Royce

- Juan Gabriel

- Raymix

- Ariel Camacho

- Farruko

- Sech

- Anuel AA

- Luis Fonsi

- Becky G

- Chayín Rubio

- Ivy Queen

- Lunay

- Larry Hernandez

- Karol G

- Darell

- Sebastian Yatra

- Chris Jedi

- Paloma Mami

- Rauw Alejandro

- Natti Natasha

- J Balvin

- Sean Paul

- Gerardo Ortiz

- Eddie Santiago

- Tobby Love

- Tito Nieves

- Alfredo Olivas

- Vicente Fernandez

- Camilo

- Guaynaa

- Rosalía

- Tainy

- Marco Antonio Solis

- Joan Sebastian

- Bad Bunny

- Manuel Turizo

- Ozuna

- Bobby Pulido

- Maluma

- Justin Quiles

- Dalex

- Boza

- DEKKO

- Jay Wheeler

- Pepe Aguilar

- Jenny Rivera

- Remmy Valenzuela

- Luis Coronel

- Alejandro Fernández

- Jose Alfredo Jimenez

- Pedro Infante

- Antonio Aguilar

- Jhay Cortez

- Ramon Ayala

- Luis Aguilar

- Myke Towers

- Reykon

- Shakira

- Julio Jaramillo

- Jorge Negrete

- Jennifer Lopez

- Julieta Venegas

- Don Omar

- Juan Luis Guerra

- Celia Cruz


Playlists:


1) A little bit of everything – Banda/ Grupo/ Corridos/ Variety of Solo Artists (YT)

https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLFkolwL2jx_WqazfzaDicjwk-MWq2iXmH …please ignore the acrylic nails video if it pops up lol


2) Old Spanish Music – Mariachi/ OG Solo Artists (Spotify)

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2GQKemYfANWxPiYhujOEUp?si=H9VL4sqRRIi_J7SsCCxBfA


3) Canciones para carnitas asada – Old School Tejano/ Cumbia/ Grupo (YT)

https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLego83rJcI7P9Jv_gQdyTf9wc26GYb7Ou


4) Urban Pop/ Reggaetón – Recent Artists & OGs (Spotify)

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5tF4yIatjlS1zRmoEpI46S?si=7PHACUdmTB6MN0a6Ifl8wA


5) Old Spanish Bops – Old School Reggaetón/ Urban Pop (Spotify)

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0BqEMTEOGV8i6rGUkfNBBp?si=23EbF-KLRsOHEyLCR066iQ

***My favorite dance music besides reggaetón is cumbia, zapateo, Tejano, huapangos y Norteñas so I decided to include some playlists dedicated to such genres. Enjoy!


6) 100% Cumbias – (Spotify)

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF1DX8yLfjPY8emY?si=5bcb1650c09a4d11


7) Cumbia Sonidera – (Spotify)

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF1DWTmGGCbcoQhY?si=a3f68cab13a54b6d


8) Zapateados y huapangos – (Spotify)

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7dGAXgVuT5whESzDa4sSQV?si=85a3374977b44fbe


9) Hupangos 2021 – (Spotify)

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7AHPhTtEupdkxCQehWTdTo?si=5e9cbfe3715f49f8


10) Tejano Classics – (Spotify)

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF1DX6wQVfUHI1zt?si=804f957810514132


11) Puro Tejano y Cumbias – (Spotify)

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6S7NnEAWmf2kCzWOiPY4DS?si=b0b24fdafac34841


12) Norteño Mix – (Spotify)

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF1DWZmwe0RTeFj4?si=0a66acb964dc47f1


13) Clásicas Norteñas – (Spotify)

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF1DWX6Kn8siboHN?si=8492de6351b24291


***Here’s a banda playlist because I thought it was a really well-rounded mix in case you might be interested to scream your lungs out with a beer in your hand jaja like all the men do it at carne asadas while they sit outside around the fire. Or you can be sober and dance while enjoying the words like normal people lol


12) Banda Mix 2021 – (Spotify)

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6oeDOTbQ4Ey8ddgisjkUql?si=b968fa4a7165478e


***Here’s a playlist with the most popular and iconic songs and anthems played at a Mexican party hence the name of the playlist.


Mexican Party Anthems - (Spotify)

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF1DXbdrcAZnP3Cy?si=d3c4490732934e28


JUST FOR FUN! - (Spotify)


***Here’s a Spotify playlist of old school songs of all genres (Bachata, Salsa, Reggaetón, Cumbia, Merengue etc.) and various Hispanic cultures (Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Colombian etc.) that you should know if you want to get to know our musical heritage and explore a different world. Have Fun!

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/57EaVGzZkhc9jDbc0yJTWX?si=469d86676cfb4d3c


Quick Clip: Cantos 'pa la carne asada (6'43")


Here are some photos of some Christmas carne asada, my dad grilling some last minute hamburgers, my family and I either baking while the carne asada is being grilled or making tamales for the Christmas carne asada and family reunion.


Closing

If you’ve managed to make it this far and are reading this then I should also mention that you are welcome to listen to whatever type of music you want to at a carne asada. It doesn’t just have to be the kinds of artists or playlists I mentioned because the music played differs A LOT depending on where people are from and their music taste. My family is from “el Norte” or the northern states of Mexico specifically so a lot of the music mentioned are from groups and artists I grew up listening to because that’s what my parents listened to. If you decide to research the type of music listened to in different areas of Mexico or other parts of Latin America then you’ll find that there’s a never-ending list of artists and playlists that exist. Which is why I decided to focus on what I am most familiar with because I genuinely love my heritage, family, food, drinks and last but not least the music; which I use as a form of escapism because it’s that captivating and thrilling.


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