Think You Don’t Like Rock in Spanish? Listen to These…

All over the world people listen to The Beatles, Bob Marley and Michael Jackson, mumbling out the lyrics in bad English while not understanding a word. Phil Collins’ Greatest Hits is played on repeat on a bus in the Philippines, teenagers pump fists to Bon Jovi’s Livin’ on a Prayer at a party in Mexico, and the words to The Real Slim Shady are slurred by drunken karaoke singers in Korea.

But, despite the wealth of musical diversity in the United States, Americans listen to very little music that’s not in English. The bulk of Rock in Spanish, which developed in the ’80s (Soda Stereo, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs), flourished in the ’90s (Cafe Tacuba, Molotov), and continues strong to this day, is largely unknown in the English-speaking world.

Perhaps it’s because crossover artists, those with enough marketing savvy and command of language to redo their songs in English, mostly come from pop (Skakira, Ricky Martin). And, if you ask me, pop sucks in any language. People who really like music, regardless of its genre, have to seek it out.

The world of Latin music includes many genres, from well-known salsa to equally important but lesser-known cumbia, bachata, banda, nortena, and many more. This becomes confusing, and consequently these distinct styles are lumped into the boundary-less category of “Latin music.”

The Spanish-language rock that interests me are artists who embrace the influence of these diverse Latin styles in their music. The following songs, some of which are reworkings of previous hits (La Flaca and Asi Es La Vida), include a compelling dose of genre-bending.

Las Tres Marias is cumbia, dance music with a strong, recognizable drum-and-bass interplay. La Flaca and Asi Es La Vida are rock songs with touches of salsa, especially in the montuno piano vamp/breakdown in La Flaca. And finally, Panteon Rococo, maybe my favorite Mexican group, plays ska mixed with rock, funk and reggae. Enjoy.

Please comment on what you like or don’t like. Y si tienes mas sugerencias, dejalas abajo por favor. Todavia estoy descubriendo grupos nuevos para mi.

For more suggestions, click here for some of my favorite Mexican music. And here are some clips from Mexico’s biggest music festival, Vive Latino.

About Ted Campbell

U.S./Canadian writer, translator and professor in Mexico. Travel stories and practical tips on my blog No Hay Bronca: // Twitter: @NoHayBroncaBlog // Contact: nohaybroncablog (at)

Posted on May 21, 2013, in Mexico, Music and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. “pop sucks in any language” jajajaja I think the same. You might already know about these bands but I really like them: Tijuana No and Triciclo Circus Band, both from México, Pistolera from United States, and Vetusta Morla from Spain. Saludos

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