An Ode to the Vagina: A Lyrical Deluge

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Twitter: @maryangelrox

Fruits, solar eclipses and metaphysical journeys: Latin American singers and songwriters have done an expansive job in paying tribute to feminine sexuality. It would seem as if Spanish was designed specifically to build intricate metaphors and exhilarating insinuations, and thus the perfect language with which to worship women’s anatomy. Some may call it objectification, but for the sake of this article we will appropriate these elegies full of creative rhymes that toy with our imaginations about this complex and beautiful part of the body, which is both a source of great pleasure and the progenitor of the human race. In celebration of Women’s History Month, here’s to the vagina.

Alejandra Guzman / “Eternamente Bella Bella” / [MEX]

Let’s start with the basics and kick things off with an anthem by Mexican icon and resident bad-ass, La Guzman. The song was released in 1990 and though she’d had earlier success with compositions that capitalized on her powerful raspy voice and affinity for racy lyrics, Bella cemented her status as rock-pop goddess. The song begins with a reference to the clitoris and a wish that her lover would say, “te quiero, baby, te quiero y siempre te querré, con esa lengua extranjera que me ablanda las piernas.” The song was composed by Jose Ramon Florez and produced by Gian Pietro Felsatti, which may account for its less-than-feminist implication that she will be “Por ti, eternamente bella” so that in return her partner will be “desesperadamente enamorado de mi.” Keep an ear out of the big horn section in the background that drives the chorus to crescendo. Other songs by La Guzman that directly reference her lady parts are Ven and the classic, Hacer el amor con otro.

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Juan Luis Guerra / “Burbujas de Amor” / [R.D.]

Released in 1990, this track comes from the Dominican Republic and from one of Latin America’s most talented songwriters. The track is rumored to make allusions to cunnilingus, which is evident in lines like “Quisiera ser un pez para tocar mi nariz en tu pecera y hacer burbujas de amor por dondequiera.” It’s a derivative of the “bachata roja” movement of the 1960s, romantic ballads thought to have sexual overtones deemed too explicit for public listening. This would account for the title of Guerra’s most successful album, and a staple in any Latin home, Bachata Rosa, an implicitly less saturated and risqué take on the old genre. The record was also an introduction to the world outside of DR to a style that would soon take over the airwaves: bachata. Burbujas is the best selling song from this album. But like we lost Cat Stevens to Islam, these days JLG mostly praises being a Born Again Christian in his music, so any further odes to the vagina seem to be on hold indefinitely.

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Roberto Carlos / “Cama y Mesa” / [BRA]

Latin America’s “Rey de la música latina” shows his writing prowess in this title released in 1981 at the tail end of the military dictatorship that took hold of Brazil from 1964-1983. In Carlos’s signature silky voice, the lyrics present strong allusions to sexuality, side-stepping the censorship regulations of the then government. The song, a descendant of “modinhas,” regional sentimental songs of the 18th and 19th century, is rumored to be about Carlos’s second wife, the model and actress, Myriam Rios. Written by both Roberto Carlos and Erasmo Carlos (no relation), members of Brazil’s “young guard” movement of the 1960s, the song features lines such as, “(Quiero) ser el jabón que te suaviza, el baño que te baña, la toalla que deslizas por tu piel mojada,” among others that will set your ill-thinking mind off and running.

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Aerolíneas Federales / “No Me Beses En Los Labios” / [ESP]

Aerolíneas Federales is a Spanish band from the coastal city of Vigo formed by a group of guy-friends. The voice you hear on this song is Coral Alonso’s, who joined well after its formation and left in 1989, four years later. They released this song in 1986 in the midst of the Spanish post-Franco Nueva Ola movement, which began in Madrid and was steeped in counterculture. It’s worth noting that AF is more bubble-gum than other acts of the time. The song relates that kissing is no longer enough: “No me beses en los labios. No ves que me haces daño. Tengo un calenturón que me duele un montón.” Also check out a track called El Atracador, a poppy and upbeat song that veils the intensity of the lyrics: a woman telling her mugger to get away from her before she kicks his ass.

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Olga Guillot & Lupita D’Alessio / “Me Muero, Me Muero” / [CUB/MEX]

This bolero was written in 1975 by Mexican composer Lolita de la Colina for Cuban singer Olga Guillot. Guillot had fled and was living in exile in Mexico after being persecuted by the Castro regime. Because of lines like, “Por cabalgar vientre con vientre, igual que antes, y que el día nos encuentre en un abrazo de amantes,” the song was banned from the airwaves in Mexico, which only fueled other artists’ desire to record de la Colina’s music. Throughout her career, and despite not having the look of a typical sex symbol, de la Colina wrote lusty ballads that were uncommon for a female songwriter at the time. The arrangement of Me muero, me muero requires a singer with strong pipes and breath control, which Guillot delivers in a big way. Spend some internet search time looking for Lupita D’Alessio’s 1985 version too. La Mujer que te ama, also written by de la Colina for Guillot, with the line “Yo soy quien realiza el amor en tu cama,” is worth a listen as well.

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Luis Eduardo Aute / “Mojándolo Todo” / [ESP]

This track is often described as “para las damas.” Written by the Spanish filmmaker, painter and poet and released in 1996, the title references female ejaculation. Aute is considered to be a member of the “nueva trova,” which was born in Cuba after the revolution of 1959, which makes this song an interesting part of the canon since nueva trova music focuses primarily on social issues and highlights progressive ideas. The verses here showcase Aute’s facility with words and regard for details. Mojándolo todo describes a woman masturbating before her lover with such lines as, “Mostrándome obscena la cueva del milagro por donde mana el liquido rayo de la vida.” Alevosia, the album from which this song is culled, is full of songs of love with varying erotic timber and some feature the musical collaboration of Aute’s long time friend, Silvio Rodriguez.

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Pablo Milanés / “En El Breve Espacio En Que No Estás” / [CUB]

Written by one of the founders of the nueva trova movement and released in 1984, this song also steers away from politics and leans more toward the realm of Cuban “feeling” music of the 1940s. The song depicts the moment after making love, when a lover has left and “Todavía quedan restos de humedad, sus olores llenan mi soledad.” Though these lines make allusions to the vagina, in as much as was possible within Cuban content restrictions, it ultimately is about unrequited love; about a woman who wants no commitments, who “mas le gusta la canción que comprometer su pensar.” Silvio Rodrigues, who is sometimes credited as its music composer, also recorded the track.

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Bebe / “Con Mis Manos” / [ESP]

Released in 2004 by Spanish singer and songwriter, Bebe, this is a fun song about masturbation from her Grammy nominated debut album, Pafuera Telarañas. The album established Bebe as an outspoken, radio-friendly feminist artist who believes there is no shame in a woman enjoying her body. This track, with a deliciously naughty bounce, goes, “Perdida en el sillón de mi cuarto pienso en ti con mis manos una y otra vez; dulce barbaridad el no controlar la forma de parar.” She dreamily goes on about her business as she la-la-la’s happily to the song’s conclusion.

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Ely Guerra / “Tu Boca” / [ESP]

From Mexico and released in 2004, this is a minimalist jazz groove that frames Guerra’s sultry vocals, which are seemingly deliberately back phrased to keep you titillated. In other words, watch out- this song is HOT. This track comes from Guerra’s Sweet & Sour/Hot y Spicy album, specifically from the Hot y Spicy side as the album is Janus-faced, keeping the steamy songs on one and the rollicking ones on the other. Guerra writes either about oral sex or pleasuring herself…or of pleasuring herself while thinking of oral sex. She sings, “En la solitaria bella oscuridad voy quitándome el deseo por ti. Me consuela la serena inmensidad de las cosas que yo puedo sentir. Y si acaso ves mi luz o mi señal, no des vuelta.” Take a listen and be the judge.

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Ricardo Arjona / “De Vez En Mes” / [GTM]

In 2005 Guatemalan singer/songwriter put together a loving and detailed account of that special time of the month. This song is chock full of great imagery (yes, I said “imagery”) and so earnest in its delivery, it’s on the verge of camp. In the first few lines Arjona writes, “De vez en mes te haces artista, dejando un cuadro impresionista debajo del edredón.” And it only gets better from there.

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Aldo Ranks / Sacúdete La Tanga [PAN]

From Panama’s reggae scene comes this 2008 release from self-proclaimed “parrandero” Aldo Ranks. Like most of his music, this track is upbeat and throws toward fast-tempo dancehall. The premise of the song is based on an often-encountered beach problem: the rampant ubiquitousness of sand and the discomfort it creates. The chorus goes as follows, “Nena, dime en que parte de tu tanga se metió la arena para sacudirte- tu estas bien buena.” The song is fun, naively salacious and it reminds me of the clichéd catcalls you often hear on Caribbean beaches.

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Soda Stereo / “En La Ciudad De La Furia” / [ARG]

Any erotic playlist would be incomplete without the inclusion of Argentine band Soda Stereo. Cerati’s dexterous writing abilities often spawn vivid, sensuous visuals and artfully constructed lines that are open to many interpretations. This track was released in 1989 and was one of their biggest hits. Cerati has stated that he wrote the beginnings of this song when he was 14 years old and that it was about an ex-girlfriend. Still the song was completed during an era of economic crisis for Argentina and thus can also be interpreted as a depiction of that turmoil. Despite the chorus repeating the lines, “Me dejarás dormir al amanecer entre tus piernas,” the song likely has various meanings. The same can be said of Hombre al agua, written by Cerati and Zeta Bosio and released in 1990, which has been rumored to be about cunnilingus because of lines like, “Hombre al agua; voces que se agitan. Hombre al agua; barco a la deriva.” But it has also been said to be about an individual taking chances in life. Politics or pussy? What do you think?

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Other tracks that did not make the detailed list but you should check out:

Cenit by La Castañeda; “Espuma de venus” by Héroes del Silencio; “Morir en tu veneno” by Alejandro Sanz; “Ahora, ahora” by Mónica Naranjo; “Sabor de Amor” by Danza Invisible; “Jálame la tanga” by Miss Bolivia; “Durazno sangrando” by Invisible; “Jugo” by Illiya Kuriyaki; “Las Chicas Son Guerreras” by Los Salvajes; “La vida moderna” by Pastora; “Pervert Pop Song” by Plastilina Mosh; “Ponerte a Girar” by Fratta.

What did I miss? What are your favorite Latin American vagina songs? What are some songs that imply more than what they say?