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Making It Rain Cafe Con Leche: Latin Songs About Coffee, Sex And Politics

A Colombian farmer sips cofee during a national coffee producers' strike Feb. 25 in Colombia. Thousands of coffee farmers rallied and marched throughout Colombia in protest the economic difficulties of the sector.
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A Colombian farmer sips cofee during a national coffee producers' strike Feb. 25 in Colombia. Thousands of coffee farmers rallied and marched throughout Colombia in protest the economic difficulties of the sector.

Coffee runs through the veins of Latin America. As economically and culturally ubiquitous as it is throughout the continent, it's only natural that it would also be a constant theme in Latin American music. But coffee, present throughout Latin song, is rarely just about a cup of joe: the drink and its colors and flavors are often used as a way to discuss sociopolitical realities.

Whether it's Brazilian music legend Gilberto Gil slamming the landed coffee aristocracy, or Dominican singer Juan Luis Guerra wishing it would rain coffee and food on his economically crippled country, coffee can serve as a way to open eyes to a thousand forbidden conversations.

For even more on the many meanings of coffee in Latin American songs, from sex to socioeconomics to the national culture of the countries where coffee is produced, listen to Alt.Latino's podcast on coffee songs of Latin America.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jasmine Garsd is an Argentine-American journalist living in New York. She is currently NPR's Criminal Justice correspondent and the host of The Last Cup. She started her career as the co-host of Alt.Latino, an NPR show about Latin music. Throughout her reporting career she's focused extensively on women's issues and immigrant communities in America. She's currently writing a book of stories about women she's met throughout her travels.
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