We here at Being Latino have always done a great job of highlighting the importance of music to our culture, whether it’s an artist that we love or have recently lost, or just our general disdain for a particular genre. But, in all our talk about music, we’ve also neglected a very important genre. But no longer! Today we attempt to do justice to the awesomeness that is Rock en Español.
Translated, Rock en Español means “Rock in Spanish”, or “Spanish Rock” (duh). But to simply call it “Rock in Spanish” doesn’t do justice to the fact that it isn’t just Rock music with lyrics sung in Spanish. I mean to say, that it is Rock music, but with it’s own unique blend of regional sounds and (often) regional instruments (e.g. Soda Stereo’s Cuando Pase el Temblor) that give it a more “Latino” feel.
The origin of Rock en Español can be traced to the popularity of Rock n’ Roll in Latin America in the ’50s and ’60s. This inevitably led to artists offering their own interpretations of Rock music (think Richie Valens’ 1958 hit, La Bamba). However, it wasn’t until the 1980s that Rock en Español was truly born, and in the 1990s it became the movement that it’s known as today.
So now you know a little bit about Rock En Español’s history (for more detailed information, you can read this), but here are some artists/albums/songs that best define the genre:
In terms of influence, three countries in particular have provided many of the genre’s best bands. Maná, Caifanes/Jaguares, and Café Tacvba (Mexico), Hombres G (Spain), and Los Enanitos Verdes, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, and Soda Stereo (Argentina) are all considered some of Rock en Español’s best bands.
Most people probably associate songs like De Música Ligera (Soda Stereo), Lamento Boliviano (Los Enanitos Verdes), and Oye mi Amor (Maná) with Rock en Español, and rightfully so: those songs are classics. But, some other great songs include Matador by Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Devuélveme a mi Chica by Hombres G, and Gimme Tha Power by Molotov. Of course, please don’t limit yourself to this my short list: check these out.
Oh…where to begin (and end). I’ll just give you my four faves, but these are also good:
- Ré- Café Tacvba
- Canción Animal-Soda Stereo
- Dónde Jugarán los Niños?-Maná
- En Vivo-Los Enanitos Verdes
Unfortunately, Rock En Español has gone through some sort of a “lull” period in the last 10-15 years. There are many reasons why, but today’s artists can’t compare to the more established giants. Or maybe it’s like my friend commented the other day: What good music, from any genre, is coming out of Latin America at the moment?
At any rate there are some decent “newer” bands like Fito & Fitipaldis, and PXNDX out there. But to truly appreciate Rock en Español, you’re probably going to have to turn back the clock. And given the great music Rock en Español has to offer, that’s not a bad thing at all.