“I don’t have water or electricity but the bet things happen in the dark,” Sin Suela raps [in Spanish] in “Mi Navidad No Se Apaga (My Christmas Won’t Go Out)” — one of the many lines in the song that, with sabor and a smile, make reference to the catastrophic conditions that residents have experienced since the island was hit by hurricanes Irma and Maria in September.
The song is one of a wave of post hurricane-referencing songs that Puerto Rican artists have recorded to keep spirits high in a country where the holidays are known for being exceptionally merry, and very musical. They include Grupomania’s “Navidad Con Vela (Christmas With Candle),” and “La Fila de la Gasolina (The Gasoline Line)” by the group Algareplena.
“Whatever happens there is always a party,” Puerto Rican pop star Olga Tañon said in this year’s Banco Popular Christmas television special, in which she sings a rousing version of “La Vida Es Un Carnival,” the uplifting song made famous by Celia Cruz. La Tribu de Abrante and PJ Sin Suela also perform in the special.
The airing of the showland release of its soundtrack, an annual holiday event, has taken on special significance this year as sign that in Puerto Rico there will be Christmas this year in spite of the hurricane damage.
Listen to “Mi Navidad No Se Apaga,” which debuts at No. 22 on the Tropical Songs chart this week.