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playlists Illustration: Ernesto Romero. Illustration: Ernesto Romero.

Don't let them knock on our door

For years I have heard and read that men think about sex every seven seconds. “Men”, not women or non-binary people, who knows why. That is: more than 500 times an hour, more than seven thousand times a day, an image, a smell, a gesture, a sensation related to sex crosses their brains while they are awake.

Obviously there are already university studies x or and that "prove" that no, that it is not possible, that although sex is a permanent presence in our lives, the serious statistics are not so ridiculously alarming. In 2019, the market research company OnePoll conducted research in the United States that grounded this data by asking 2,000 adults how often they thought about sex per day. About five times, they said on average, not including dreams. 

I don't know when I realized that the black man who cooks and doesn't want someone to knock on his door was not really softening yucca or marinating any meat; but it made me smile to see how naive we live when sex is not yet an active part of our lives. When it occurred to me to assemble this playlist —obviously while Pedrito Calvo's guest eats the banana, which she likes to begin with—, I discovered a fascinating link between sexuality and food in Cuban music. 

From the slippery okra, through the strawberry and chocolate, the marinated meat, to the cane that to try it, you first have to kiss, many Cuban songs speak or suggest more or less openly on the subject. He says GQ that this is absolutely normal, because according to another study from any other university, food is a much more periodic thought than sex. 

And no, the recurrence of this in music is not a current phenomenon nor is it exclusive to certain musical genres. It's been a long time since it started. In this playlist Classics of popular dance music coexist with author songs, funk, reggaeton, rap and rock. Some themes are more explicit than others, but they all speak —or so it can be interpreted— of the pleasure of sex. Let's go to the national team because, I don't know about you, but it's already making me hungry. (Diana Ferreiro). 

Cómo traigo la yuca (How I bring the yucca) / Arsenio Rodriguez  

Nobody doubts that Arsenio was blind and marvelous. He revolutionized the tres, the son, and the popular song with his innovations and his innate ability to enjoy life. As an example of all this, this tasty and playful theme is well worth it, in which the singer insistently asks that Catalina be told that the yucca, that phallic tuber so common in Cuban kitchens, is getting out of hand, and then nothing will be the same. (The solo of tres that plays from 1:52 onwards deserves a comment and a monument by itself).

Quimbombó que resbala pa’ la yuca seca (Okra that slips for the dry yucca) / Conjunto Chappottín y sus Estrellas 

The son montuno of the ensembles, the urban one, the one from Havana from the 40s and 50s; the one that was cooked in the popular dance halls, in high schools or in the open air and not in the halls of high society, over time ended up being everyone's. But in those years many were scandalized by his texts. The truth is that if one lesson left us, it is that one can be 100% explicit, even almost graphic, without the need to call things by their name.

Menéame la cuna (Rock the cradle) / Comp. Ñico Saquito; Int. Adalberto Alvarez y su Son 

It was very difficult for the surreptitious world of sexuality to escape an eye as incisive as that of Ñico Saquito. Ñico himself said that María Cristina was a saint next to the protagonist of this song, because the asymmetries in the marriage of this song go far beyond one wanting to “govern” the other. The Ramón in this song can't even breathe, he always has to be available to shake… a cradle. 

Temba, tumba, timba / Los Van Van  

"Two women and three husbands were looking for his location." At the height of the last years of the last century, it can be said that Cuban dance music had sung very little about a phenomenon such as sexual liberation and those that we know today as swingers. True to the social chronicle that has characterized Los Van Van, this song is a reflection of a subject that is still taboo for many on the island. swingers. True to the social chronicle that has characterized Los Van Van, this song is a reflection of a subject that is still taboo for many on the Island.

El beso y la caña (The kiss and the cane) / Conjunto Chappottín y sus Estrellas  

This song is one of those that shows that almost explicit sex is part of lifelong Cuban music. The metaphor of the cane as a phallic symbol is too obvious for us to even say that it is a “double meaning”, especially with the guy blackmailing: “if you want to suck the cane, you have to give me a kiss…”. Let's take advantage of the rich son to remind men that while women may be willing to allow sexual advances, it does not mean that they expressly consent to any act. No means no.

En el mapa de tu cuerpo (On the map of your body) / Comp. Julius Fowler; Int. Gema Corredera

The piano acts as a guide on this journey where there is no other compass than pleasure. In this song —included in the album shedding light (G & C Music Corporation, 2013) and defended by Gema Corredera— inhabit madness and the excessive desire to quench the thirst of another body. It reveals to us the moment in which the only important thing is to lose oneself in someone else's being in order to finally enjoy "the joy of living". This, of course, with the complicity of the loved one and without fear of shipwreck. The body as the only map and destination.

Comienzo y final de una verde mañana (Beginning and end of a green morning) / Pablo Milanes 

This is a song sensually describable from its first verses: “Let me wake you up with a kiss / in the green morning that awaits you”, Pablo sings, with that tremendous voice, and immediately seduces us. With each subtle verb (go through, review, rest), the singer-songwriter seeks the company of his lover at dawn and photographs the desire, passion and dedication with which that person can be loved. This is a declaration of love: "accidents" and "imperfections" do not matter, the troubadour intends to celebrate spring in "the beautiful length" of the body. 

Hacerte venir (Make you come) / Amaury Perez 

Amaury Pérez, connoisseur of the secrets of the romantic ballad, sings this song with the impulse of someone who loves (and desires) from a distance —either physical, or conducive to the end of a love that no longer corresponds—. Hope is then the last chance to which the singer-songwriter clings to "light up the city and the sun with the gestures of a storm". Metaphors, on the other hand, are the lyrical resource to express those longings that "ignite" his soul (and body). "If I could from where I am, oh love, make you come / Have your mouth and your heart when desire wants to boil me".

The sun does not give to drink / Silvio Rodriguez 

After the internationalist ode that is Canción Urgente para Nicaragua, Silvio Rodríguez proposes smoothing things out with this, the third track on the B-side of his album Unicornio (Egrem, 1982). In this bucolic song, the troubadour manages to slip us in, with tremendous grace, a morning fellatio that can even go unnoticed, among so many poetic and sound images. High eroticism wrapped in some very sexy pop arrangements, in the way that pop could be sexy in the early 80s.

Antes que nazca el día (Before the day is born) / Liuba Maria Hevia 

How to talk about sexual desire, without talking about sexual desire? How to talk about that longing for the other person's skin, for the kiss, for the encounter between lovers, without doing it directly? Liuba's poetry, the tenderness of her voice amplified by the clean and subtle sound of the strings —the beauty of the harp at the beginning, please!—, everything in this song conspires to join us in the prayer of those who seek the possibility of that closeness in the darkest hours of the day, those that precisely function as a prelude to dawn. “Grant me the attempt” (baffffff!). 

Haiku de paz (Peace haiku) / Yusa   

¿How many verses are needed to describe the desire, to feel it from the most absolute freedom (without distracting reasons)? Four, says Yusa. Four unique verses make up this haiku with which she opens that wonderful album called precisely Haiku (TumiMusic, 2008) and that, in addition to peace, contains an excessive sensuality that is unleashed as the artist finishes singing it and unleash a choir that seems to emulate a delicious ecstasy. ¿What else could be sung if two bare breasts point to your back?

Muévelo un poquito (Move it a little) / Athanai  

In this, the fifth theme of his album A Castro le gusta el rock (Athanai Music, 2004), the White Rapper, in an attack of satiety, fuses the sound of rock with lyrics of popular dance music and rap to encourage his partner to move in different ways depending on how hot “the affair". And it is that, in the end, if there is no wiggle, so' what.

Paciente / Cimafunk 

That dark bass with which the song begins already marks a heater... a cloudy and humid thing that is known to get more hot at any time... And it gets... With the beat from the choir we are all already rubbing each other in the disco… patients with patients, patients with healers… And when we already have our tongues out and we are moving at an exasperated and stable rhythm, come on, come on, come on… the subject slows down again… and we feel how the sweat runs off us, it bathes us, oh, very bad, all very bad… And the video of Raúl Capote Braña is that it doesn't help… what I want is an electroshock...

La tuba / Elvis Manuel and Jerry  

A lot of ink has been spilled on paper about Elvis Manuel and Jerry as the founding fathers of the reparto. Chronology aside, you had to see how the Cuban archipelago shuddered back in 2007 when that “Look at her, look at her how she sweats…” began to sound. Hedonism and pornography to eat and to take away, La tuba it was a celebratory anthem of unrestrained and open sexuality proposed by a very young Elvis Manuel Martínez Nodarse, who would shortly afterwards face the tragic death that turned him into a premature legend of the urban genre. Songs like this were installed forever in the national collective imagination. With very little room for imagination, that's for sure.

Fresa y Chocolate (Strawberry and Chocolate) / Los 4  

This is one of the classic songs by Los 4, with Damián Aguirre and El Taiger (when he was still called El Príncipe) in their lineup, that every Cuban has heard (and/or danced to) at some point. With their characteristic use of popular proverbs, they allude to the different roles assumed by each party involved in "the issues of love".

Lengua (Tongue) / Malaka 

By 2022, it seems to mean Malaka, they don't like to be touched from behind (insert gif of Tony Stark rolling his eyes). And she, who only thinks of passing her tongue, comes to sing a sort of cortical ode to that sexual practice marked by taboos and, why not, a little bit of homophobia. Perreo and sexy bars so that the tongue and everything else to slip. 

Mi primera vez (My first time) / Los Aldeanos feat. Silvito El Libre and Charly Mucharrima 

This is a song about sexual initiation, that beautiful and naive. The authors recount that first time without restraint, the nerves, the attempt to show an experience that does not exist, the sensations, the impression that the world changed because you have changed, the desire to shout it from the rooftops... in short, the imprint of the almost always unforgettable first time. Theme of little stars, streamers and fireworks.

Listen to her playlist complete here: 

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