In the Heights has fans quickly memorizing its soundtrack, but just what is the meaning of one of the film’s moving musical moments, the song “Alabanza”?

Since coming out on June 10th, 2021, In the Heights has been widely acclaimed by fans and critics alike.

As a new musical involving Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda, the film was always destined to be huge.

So no wonder fans are eager to know what the film’s tearjerker song “Alabanza” represents.

*WARNING: Spoilers ahead*

In The Heights – Washington Heights Trailer

In The Heights – Washington Heights Trailer

In the Heights: Release date and Plot

In the Heights premiered in the US on June 10th, 2021.

It follows Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), a sympathetic New York bodega owner, who saves every penny in the hopes of reviving his father’s business in his native Dominican Republic.

Over the course of three days, In the Heights explores the titular Washington Heights in New York City and all its residents, as they imagine and sing about a better life.

In the Heights: Alabanza meaning [spoilers]

  • In English, “Alabanza” simply means to praise or worship.

“Alabanza”, the twelfth song of In the Heights soundtrack, is an emotional tribute number to Abuela Claudia, the matriarch of the neighbourhood.

The song begins almost as spoken word before building to a heartfelt crescendo with hints of “Paciencia y Fe” sprinkled throughout.

Alabanza means to raise this

Thing to God’s face

And to sing, quite literally: “Praise to this.”

When she was here, the path was clear

And she was just here, she was just here…

Lyrics from the song “Alabanza” from In The Heights, on Genius.

In the song “Alabanza”, the barrio mourns the sudden passing of Abuela Claudia at the end of “Carnaval Del Barrio” and in the wake of Kevin’s announcement (“Atención”). 

They reminisce about her together and recall her favorite phrase, “Alabanza”.

The song itself is incredibly moving, heartwarming, and probably requires a tissue.

“Alabanza” is performed by Anthony Ramos, Leslie Grace, Jimmy Smits, Noah Catala, Melissa Barrera, Corey Hawkins and Gregory Diaz IV.

Warner Bros.

In the Heights soundtrack

The film adaptation of the Broadway musical has a soundtrack filled with upbeat dance numbers, sombre songs, and romantic and celebratory tunes, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda himself. 

As with Hamilton, Miranda wrote the music and lyrics to every song on the soundtrack, with each number offering a different musical arrangement and dynamic to keep the story lively.

With 17 tracks to listen to, here is every song that features in the film:

As well as being made available by Atlantic Records on YouTube, the 17-song album is also on Apple Music and Spotify.

In the Heights is out now in US theaters and on HBO Max.

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