In my quest to learn the Spanish language I have often turned to music to help me. This has mostly been a futile attempt, but has led me to discovering many great bands and artists. Beyond the well-known stars such as Shakira, Daddy Yankee, Enrique Iglesias, Ricky Martin and Alejandro Sanz, there’s a vibrant and well-supported scene with some absoloute gems to be found. Whether it’s to aid your learning, or simply for your own enjoyment, the Spanish-speaking music scene has a variety of styles and genres to tickle your fancy. From indie-rock to Spanish trap, here’s a list of 10 artists that you need to know right now:
Latin Grammy Award-winning Spanish hip-hop star Mala Rodriguez is not a bad way to start off proceedings. She’s noted for her socially minded lyrics and strong femininity, rising to fame in the fertile hip-hop scene in Seville during the late 1990s. Her albums ‘Lujo Iberico’ (2000) and ‘Alevosia’ (2003) cemented her as one of Spain’s most notable rappers. She has worked on various projects since then and is still performing live with a number of festival and tour dates this summer.
A bit of indie-rock tinged with darkness and self-loathing, Nudozurdo have built a strong reputation as one of the sensations of the Spanish rock scene. A tagline earnt with a succession of critically acclaimed releases.
One of a number of Spanish rappers emerging from the internet with enormous success, BEJO’s peculiar image and playful rhymes have been viewed and downloaded by millions. He has a new album entitled ‘Hipi Hapa Vacilanduki’ on the way and is due to play Sonar festival later this month. Spanish trap is a realy interesting genre with a lot of complexities and if you want to know more, check out my feature on it here.
Colombian superstar Juanes is a singer-songwriter and guitarist. He has built up an impressive back catalogue over the years, and has a new audiovisual album called ‘Mis Planes Son Amarte’ out now, the first of its kind by a Latin musician.
Truth is, Luis Fonsi was a massive star in his home country of Puerto Rico and in Latin America even before his wordlwide hit ‘Despacito’ dominated radio stations across the globe. This won’t change now that the small nation is once again forcing non-Spanish speakers to embarrass themselves in clubs and parties, just ask Justin Bieber for advice on that. His fellow countryman and devious partner in crime Daddy Yankee featured on the orginal mix of the track, which you can listen to here.
Love of Lesbian:
Indie-pop band from Catalonia. Very, very popular across Spain with number one albums and sold out tours, and it’s not hard to see why, catchy pop melodies galore.
As the name suggests, this group hailing from Madrid and Valencia focus on politics and social issues. Combining rap and rock elements, it’s music to feed your inner anarchist.
Named after a popular cafe that the band used to visit in their home nation of Mexico, Cafe Tacvba are one of the biggest names in Latin American rock. They’ve been together now for 27 years and are still going strong, with new album ‘Jei Beibi’ released on May 5th. In recent years they’ve become increasingly political and their new track ‘Futuro’ offers a philosphical twist on our current affairs. Check out the interesting video for it below.
A fascinating duo from Puerto Rico, Calle 13 combined the regions own reggaeton sound with hip-hop and electronica with massive success. Their powerful and insightful lyrics led them to be one of the most controversial, but popular acts in Latin American history. Although inactive now as a duo, both artists are still contributing to various projects elsewhere.
Extremely talented producer and singer-songwriter from Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. El Guincho is already signed to the famous Young Turks label and rose to prominence after his 2008 album ‘Alegranza!’.
Mana: (Mexico, rock) // Sr. Chinarro: (Spain, indie-rock) // Belanova: (Mexico, Electropop) // SKA-P: (Spain, Ska-punk) // Los Planetas: (Spain, indie-rock) // Triángulo de Amor Bizarro: (Spain, post-rock) // Reik: (Mexico, pop) // Kaydy Cain: (Spain, hip-hop)