Chicago Works: Omar Velázquez

Chicago Works: Omar Velázquez Exhibition Playlist

Featured images

Installation view, Chicago Works: Omar Velázquez, MCA Chicago. Dec 22, 2020–Jul 25, 2021.
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago


Omar Velázquez (Puerto Rican, b. 1984) is a musician and artist who has long been interested in the history of string instruments in Puerto Rico. Through his paintings and handmade instruments, Velázquez connects music, landscape, and folk traditions to explore the legacies of colonialism and the experience of the Puerto Rican diaspora. 

For this exhibition, he crafted several string instruments in the style of the tiple and the cuatro, two of the instruments that make up Puerto Rico's traditional orquesta jíbara, or country orchestra. These instruments, and the jíbaro musicians who play them, are also featured in some of the paintings on view. 

Songs by iconic jíbaro musicians, selected by Velázquez, play in the exhibition’s galleries. These songs are shared here, with links to each provided below. Some tracks are sourced from The Puerto Rican Cuatro Project, an initiative dedicated to sharing the history and culture of the cuatro.


Artist, Song Length
1 Chuito “El De Bayamon,” "A un Pintor" (1991) 3:25
2 Baltazar Carrero, "El Muerto Resucitó" (Unknown date) 2:34
3 Baltazar Carrero, Claudio Ferrer, y su conjunto, "Pa’ La Banda de Allá" (1957) 2:59
4 Charles Figueroa, August Rodrigues, Virginia Rodrigues, and Wayne Rodrigues, "Seis con Décimas" (1989) 5:36
5 Simón Gómez, "Los Motines de Chicago" (1966) 6:15
6 Odilio González (feat. Yomo Toro y su Conjunto), "Mercedita" (2006) 2:51
7 Roque Navarro, "Siete Rosas" (Unknown date) 1:41
8 Francisco ‘Pancho’ Ortíz Piñeiro, "El Guayabo" (Unknown date) 5:36
9 “Don Marcial” Rivera León, "Danza recuerdos del ayer" (Unknown date) 3:47
10 Maso Rivera, "El Barrilito" (1963) 4:22
11 Maso Rivera, "El Sancocho Prieto" (Unknown date) 4:16