Boleros have been in my life since day one. My lovely grandmother used to sing me to sleep with boleros when I was just a baby. Growing up in the Dominican Republic, we always had these songs playing in the back of our heads or coming out of some window. I remember this awesome AM radio station that played boleros nonstop and me getting hypnotized by these amazing ornamented melodies, sometimes romantic and other times overwhelmingly sad and deep.
It’s safe to say that for us Latinos boleros might be the genre that unites us all in a way. Every country has its own type of bolero—Cuba’s Frank Domínguez or Barbarito Diez, Chile’s Lucho Gatica, Colombia’s Nelson Pinedo, Mexico’s Agustín Lara or Los Panchos, Puerto Rico’s Daniel Santos, Venezuela’s Lorenzo González, or DR’s Alberto Beltrán, just to name a few classics. They all had their distinctive flavor, but were all boleros. Even places like Spain had Maria Dolores Pradera and let’s not forget that even gringo folks, like Nat King Cole, gave this genre a chance. It’s just so irresistible, so simple yet so complicated.
These are just some of the many reasons why—when Remezcla asked me to do a playlist of boleros for San Valentine’s day—I was psyched to share some songs with you all. I chose more than 50 of my all-time favorite boleros. In here you’ll find anything you need: Songs for the broken, drunken, melted, or shining heart. Enjoy!