How to Get Into Music in Spanish

street jam copy

Jamming on the street in San Cristobal de las Casas

Before the ease of downloading, when I traveled in places like Brazil, Vietnam and Mexico, I went to street markets, where pirated CDs with photocopied liner notes in plastic sleeves hung from big white racks.

Whenever I heard music I liked, I’d ask the person who it was, what kind of music it was, and which other groups I should listen to. I walked away with stacks of bootleg CDs.

El Chopo, Mexico City's rock market

El Chopo, Mexico City’s rock market

But what’s even better is to have a musician or a music fan write me a list of their favorite bands. Then after a long trip I sit down with my lists and listen to the suggestions on YouTube.

A few posts on this blog are lists of my musical discoveries from Latin America. Many fine artists are practically unknown north of the Mexican/U.S. border, the great cultural divide in North America.

So this is my list to you, from one friend and curious traveler to another:

The Bus, Dance Floor and Block Party – My introduction to some major styles in Latin American music.

Kickass Mexican Music – My five favorite Mexican groups/artists from my first year living in Mexico. Now, more than two years after I wrote this article, I’ve seen all but one of these groups live. Can you guess which?

Think You Don’t Like Rock in Spanish – Some great songs, chosen to give a newbie a nice intro to the diversity of Spanish rock:

Rap and Hip Hop in Spanish:

Latin Music for Jam Fans – Another primer for quality Rock en Español (rock in Spanish):

Los Tigres del Norte – “Somos Mas Americanos” (We are more American) is a protest song every American should hear. Includes my translation to English:

Vive Latino 2012 – the biggest rock festival in Mexico:

Vive Latino 2013 – a great Sunday lineup of some of my favorite Latin bands:

My experience at Cumbre Tajin 2014, another great music festival in Mexico:

For thoughts on playing, collecting and passing music between travelers – music from around the world – please read Discovering Music on the Road.

Thanks, and please comment with more suggestions. Send me your list from your part of the world. And click on these CDs:

(This post contains paid Amazon Associate links.)

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 January 29, 2014, in Mexico, Music and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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