The halfway mark of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15th – October 15th) has approached and as a Hispanic woman, I wanted to pay tribute to the artists that were significant in my upbringing. I’ve highlighted some of my favorite Hispanic musicians that were always blasting in my household growing up, as well as ones I found along the way. From Spanish pop to rock en español, here are some notable features that influenced my music taste today.
If you grew up listening to Spanish rock, you already know how significant the band Caifanes are. My parents would always blast them at home and I’m super thankful for that because it influenced my music taste today. Jokingly referred to as the Mexican version of The Cure, Caifanes have been a staple artist in my life and are essential if one wants to get into rock en español. My favorite songs from them are “Mátanme Porque Me Muero” and “Afuera.”
This is another notable rock en español band my parents showed me, however, if it weren’t for my high school Spanish teacher playing Maná every single morning at 8 am to get the day started, I wouldn’t know all the words to “Mariposa Traicionera.”
- Hombres g
Curators of the classic bop “Devuélveme a mi chica,” this song makes heads turn instantly as soon as the drum hits, signaling for people to dance along to it. Hombres G has a special place in my heart because it reminds me of how much my younger brother loves them. *Cough cough* I showed him them. If this band comes on, I immediately call my brother into the room and we start dancing!
- Julieta Venegas
This feature goes out to my mom since she showed me this artist at such a young age; she is one of our favorites. Julieta Venegas is a Mexican-American musician who I grew up listening to during car rides to elementary school with my mom. I vividly remember that she bought the CDs of her albums so we could blast it together anywhere we went. We both love her pop style and can recite every lyric on Limon y Sal.
How could I not mention the queen of cumbia? Selena comes on and suddenly I can dance, I swear. She gave me the confidence growing up to dance to cumbias and she’s probably the reason why cumbia is my favorite genre to dance to. From her fashion taste to her beautiful personality, Selena has always been an essential artist for me. R.I.P to this queen.
- Chalino Sanchez
Mexican singer-songwriter, Chalino Sánchez, is one of the most notable musicians in Hispanic culture who is known for his unique corrido musical style. This artist in particular just hits a little deeper. “Nieves De Enero” comes on and I can’t help but get emotional because of how nostalgic it makes me feel about the family parties we used to have. It takes me back to the time when my cousins and I were kids and my mom made her bomb Barbacoa for all of us. Chalino’s story is a truly heartbreaking one and he has one of the most prominent voices within Spanish music that is adored by many. Rest in Peace to this king.
Led by Carlos Santana, Santana has a very unique style and sound that I discovered as I got older and I admire greatly. Their song “Oye Como Va” features one of the most grooviest guitar sounds I’ve ever heard along with it’s prominent sound of the Hammond B-3 organ. My personal favorite from them is their live version of “Soul Sacrifice” when they played at Woodstock in 1969. Santana is just simply good for the soul, enough said.
- Chicano bATMAN
On a much more contemporary basis, Chicano Batman has easily become one of my more modern favorite Hispanic bands. I love that they incorporate the traditional organ into some of their songs as well as lyrics in both Spanish and English. Their percussion and beautiful electric guitar sounds are especially seen in their song “Lisandreando” and in their whole album Cycles of Existential Rhyme.
These are only a fraction of all of the amazing Hispanic artists out there that I and others admire, though these all deserve some spotlight and a good listen! However, I hold most of these near and dear to my heart because I grew up listening to them. They are a big part of my culture and family upbringing and I hope that many can relate.