My campaign started in the corporate world – at McK, I had portuñol listed on my language skills in my internal profile. I actually managed to convince one of my co-workers to also list portuñol in his profile (I also convinced him to grow a really cool handlebar moustache, some people really don’t miss me at the office…)
What is Portuñol? Brazilians are normally too lazy to actually learn proper Spanish, so we basically make some words up mixing Portuguese with Spanish accent, and that’s basically all the Spanish we think we need. Spanish speakers normally add the suffix “inho” to every little word and that’s it – a language that connects you with your fellow Latin-Americans. Portuñol is the fusion of Portu(guês)+(Espa)ñol.
So, if you wish to learn portuñol, nothing better that a whole playlist of portuñol songs for you to practice your vocabulary and nail the right accent.
The ultimate Portuñol Playlist – Brazilians singing in bad Spanish, Spanish-speakers singing in bad Portguese.
- Caetano Veloso – Un vestido y un amor – Caetano has a whole album in Spanish called Fina Estampa. The album is great and this Fito Paez song is one of my favorite songs.
- Gilberto Gil – Soy Loco por ti, América – portuñol in its best, with the whole political message
- Os Mutantes – El Justiciero – this is my song addiction of the week. This is classic portuñol: “Tengo chocolate quiente y tequila”, “Socuerro, el Justiciero”. Priceless.
- Maria Rita and Jorge Drexler – Soledad – so do not listen to this song if you are feeling suicidal. I have to admit that I cried a little bit at Drexler’s concert here in Mexico when he played this song.
- João Gilberto and Caetano– Besame Mucho – classic bolero by Bossa Nova’s gran maestro.
- Bebo y Cigala – Eu sei que vou te amar – Cuban pianist, flamenco singer, Brazilian song.
- Caetano Veloso – Cucurrucucu paloma– if you watched the Almodóvar movie “Talk to her”, you probably remember the beautiful scene with Caetano and Jacques Morelembaum.
- Jorge Drexler – Dom de iludir – OK, I’m a little obsessed with Caetano lately(if you consider 15 years lately). But this song has a classic Caetano verse “every person knows the beauty and sorrows of being who you are”. Rivals THE classic Caê quote: “from up-close, nobody is normal”.
From my experience, some karaoke nights can change your life. You never know what or whom you will encounter in shady karaoke joints in Latin America, therefore, you should always be prepared to humiliate yourself on public with well-known songs, preferably in a very kitsch bar (or in multi-cultural complex with pool tables, sushi bar, barbecue and Xmas lights in a Japanese-run karaoke, oh, well, I miss São Paulo after all)
- Menudos – Não se reprima – claaaaassic 80’s song, Puerto Rico boys group singing in Portuñol. Ricky Martin started his career in this group.
- Roberto Carlos – Detalles – the Brazilian King of Romantic Music. You can’t go wrong with Details – “small details of us, are just too big to forget”. This is probably one of the few songs in the world that I can actually remember the lyrics. Corny? Yes. Totally kitsch? Also. Still, I love it.