Looking for new Latin music? You are at the right place! Starting this week, Billboard is introducing Viva Friday, a compilation of new songs, albums and videos recommended by our editors. This week (May 18), the list includes Daddy Yankee’s new song “Hielo,” Beatriz Luengo and Alejandro Sanz’s “Ojos de Mandela,” a quick recap of The Texmaniacs’ new album Cruzando Borders and more.
Below, listen to recommendations from Leila Cobo, Suzette Fernández, Justino Aguila, Judy Cantor-Navas and Pamela Bustios.
Daddy Yankee, “Hielo”
Daddy Yankee is back with a trap song called “Hielo” (Ice). The Big Boss is leaving his mark in the genre in his simple and powerful style, without the need to use explicit words (which is very popular nowadays). — S.F.
Maluma, F.A.M.E. (Sony Music)
Maluma recently said his genre of music is “Maluma.” He has a point. F.A.M.E., a non-stop parade of hits with excellent lyrics — many bilingual (there’s a duet with Jason Derulo) — that speak directly to a new audience of fans, is impossible to place squarely in either a reggaeton or a pop box. Instead, Maluma moves fluidly between both, marrying genres and beats with vocals that have dramatically improved and can go from eloquent and melodic to edgy rap. Produced mostly by Maluma’s Medellin camp of Édgar Barrera “Edge” and “Rude Boyz” Kevin ADG & Chan El Genio and with additional contributions by Timbaland and Scott Storch, F.A.M.E. is a major step forward both for Maluma and for the standards of pop/urban music. This is an album made by, and for, a new generation of listeners. –– L.C.
Recommended track: “Mi Declaración”
Havana Cultura, ¡Súbelo, Cuba!
Gilles Peterson’s Havana Cultura project has, for almost a decade, both captured and nurtured Cuba’s new music scene with a collection of albums produced with support from Havana Club rum. The latest album, ¡Súbelo, Cuba!, again challenges preconceived notions of what Cuban music sounds like, courtesy of some of the most interesting artists on the scene. The smoking drummer Yissy Garcia, DJ Jigüe, Luz de Cuba and others head deep into Afro-tropical soul, Havana club culture and the unique poetry of Cuban street slang with electronic beats, dancehall rhythms and as heard on the tracks “Enciendelo” and “revolución en el corazón.” Hear the first single “Traketeo” now; the full album will be released on May 25. — J.C.N
Beatriz Luengo feat. Alejandro Sanz, “Ojos de Mandela”
The Madrid-born Beatriz Luengo is back with Cuerpo y Alma, a super-sized offering of 18 tracks and several collaborations with guests such as Leonel Garcia, Mala Rodríguez and Alejandro Sanz. The latest project includes pop and urban, but it’s the soulful ballads that power through beautifully in a song like “Ojos de Mandela,” guided by a wave of delicate strings, while Luengo and Sanz unite as part of a pairing splendor. — J.A.
Kany García, Soy Yo (Sony Music)
The place of the Latin singer/songwriter, or cantautor, in contemporary Latin music has been diminished since reggaeton and urban music took over the airwaves. Enter Kany García and her new album, which make zero concessions to anything that’s not her own brand of music (her track “Banana-Papaya” with Residente notwithstanding). With the vocals at the forefront of the mix, lush acoustic arrangements and intimate lyrics, Soy Yo reminds us of the depth to be found in the well of Latin music. — L.C.
J Balvin, “Donde Estarás”
J Balvin does it once again! The Colombian singer gives his fans a new song from his next album Vibras, a week away from its release. “Donde Estaras” follows the romantic reggaeton line that Balvin has been presenting for the last few months. On this occasion, the lyrics tell the story of a boy who lost his girlfriend due to a lack of communication. –S.F.
The Texmaniacs, Cruzando Borders
Reprising songs known to fans of the Texas Tornadoes and other beautiful ballads and bouncy Tejano tunes, Los Texmaniacs’ album Cruzando Borders is both timely and timeless. The words “when you reach the broken promised land and every dream slips through your hand” in the song “Across the Borderline” speak of an immigration policy gone afoul, and an unfolding national disaster. “Some of us are illegal and others not wanted,” guest vocalist Lyle Lovett also laments on “The Deportee.” Finally, the upbeat “Mexican Americano” affirms the pride of the “noble race” whose “land is two countries.” — J.C.N
Arturo Sandoval, Ultimate Duets (Universal Music Latin Entertainment)
Arturo Sandoval has released his new album Ultimate Duets, the first set in five years. The album finds an impressive lineup of artists such as Stevie Wonder, Pharrell Williams & Ariana Grande, Josh Groban, Anni-frid Lyngstad, Plàcido Domingo, Celia Cruz, Juan Luis Guerra, Al Jarreau, Alejandro Sanz, Prince Royce and David Bisbal, who openly suggested their favorite song to be rearranged with Sandoval’s trumpet. The album is a classic piece. -S.F
Mitre, “Los Santos del Amor”
Blending traditional Mexican Cumbia pop with Latin alternative cadences, D.F.’s Luis Mitre and Sinaloa’s Andie Sandoval give light to “Los Santos del Amor,” the lead single from their debut album El Callejón del Beso. In in an attempt to find a remedy for love troubles, the duo offers to light up a candle for the saints in a quasi-psychedelic video that evokes mysticism and folklore. — P.B.
Sebastián Yatra, Mantra (Universal Music Latin Entertainment)
Sebastian Yatra has officially dropped his first studio album, Mantra. The set includes a total of 16 songs such as “Por Perro,” “Sutra” and “Alguien Robo,” as well as his collaboration with Carlos Vives, “Robarte Un Beso,” which was composed by Yatra and led him to reach the No. 1 spot in Billboard’s Latin Airplay.