Here are the videos I couldn’t stop watching this year—in no particular order. Not only are they all entertaining, but they’re also what make these songs really sing.
Artist: Bomba Estero
Album: Blow Up
Dirctor: Alejandro Buchheim
Filmed in Barranquilla, Colombia, this clip captures the energy of this chaotic Caribbean city: We see mule carts pass by; men cutting a fish with a machete; and tchotchke (or cachivache) sellers everywhere. Vocalist Li Saumet owns the streets as she brings her booming neo-cumbia to where it all started.
Artist: Ana Tijoux
Director: Didi Moreno
A great rap song with a video made for the iPhone generation. Tijoux drags images around to narrate her personal story through a series of drawings and pictures. Hers is a captivating tale: She was born in France while her parents were exiled from her dad’s native Chile. Then as a teen, she moved to Santiago, where she discovered hip-hop.
Artist: Quantic and his Combo Barbaro
Song: “Un Canto A Mi Tierra”
Album: Tradition in Transition
Folklore singer Nidia Gongora is capable of luring anyone to Colombia’s Pacific coast with this video. Shot in her hometown of Timbiqui, it is a rhythmic ode to this part of the world and its beautiful people.
Song: “Coba Guarango”
Album: Coba Coba
Director: Ojo Rojo Producciones
An Afro-Peruvian stew of sounds and sights, this video takes us to the chalk-marked streets of El Carmen, a village near Lima, as we move to a beat that dates back centuries and is now being updated for new listeners.
Artist: Si Sé
Song: “The Chain”
Director: The Crystal Pharoah
Set mostly in Coney Island, this video just looks like a good time was had by all. It’s even more impressive when you realize that it was shot entirely with iPhones, flip cams and point and shoot cameras. Love the old school New York vibe; reminds me of a time when riding the subway was fun.
Artist: Natalia Lafourcade
Song: “Ella Es Bonita”
Album: Hu Hu Hu
Director: Sofia Garza-Barba
Whimsy alone makes this video stand out. I dig the retro vibe and simplicity. The feel-good dance numbers make me want to don gold leggings and try them in front of a mirror.
Artist: Wisin y Yandel
Country: Puerto Rico
Album: La Revolución
Director: Jessy Terrero
The numbers have to count for something: This clip has been played more than 12 million times. Shot in Death Valley, the production imagines a massive party on the sand with our favorite dynamic duo soaking up the heat.
Artist: Hello Seahorse!
Director: Esteban Azuela
This video has a Blair Witch Project–appeal to it in the beginning. I really like the cut-outs and textures. The song is dreamy and haunting so it makes sense that the visuals should take us deep into a hazy forest where the “beast” lurks.
Artist: Calle 13
Country: Puerto Rico
Song: “Fiesta de Locos”
Album: Los de Atras Vienen Conmigo
Why haven’t I been to a Calle 13 show? This clip was filmed during a live concert in Buenos Aires and captures the frenzy on and off the stage. I was especially entertained by the crazy characters thrown into the mix: Watch for two women making out; a priest dancing; and a guy hugging a rooster. It’s pure lunacy.
What’s your favorite video of 2009?