Many people have been wondering how I got started listening to Latin music, since I have zero Latin blood in me. I actually can’t remember the one band or song that got me hooked, but I’m pretty sure it started as a way to learn Spanish in high school. I would write down and look up any Spanish lyrics I didn’t know in a little notebook. Eventually I moved from being a school nerd to a band nerd. I found Latin artists by spending hours on iTunes, either looking at the suggested artist pages, the iTunes Latino homepage, or by browsing podcasts. My favorite was “Latin Roll” which not only played new songs and gave me a chance to hear real (as supposed to classroom) Spanish, but it also interviewed bands, making me invested in their culture and their music.
Once I learned about where the bands were from, I developed an interest in travelling in Latin America. For example, the love-hate relationship that Los Bunkers seemed to have with Santiago, Chile, on their old website was fascinating, and I dreamt of going there (later I ended up spending half a year there). And I was dying to go to Guadalajara, Mexico, where Maná is from (I still haven’t been – is anyone up for a trip?).
Listening to Latin music in high school would not have been complete without this trusty c.d. player.
Below, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite songs from that time period, the mid-2000′s. It happens to be a representative sampling of the major hubs that churn out great Alternative Rock en Español. Clearly Mexico was (and still is) a huge center point for Latin music. Chile, Puerto Rico, and Argentina, the other major strongholds of Latin alternative music, are also represented in my sampling here. The next blog post will be more about how these musical influences caught up with me later in life.
Los Bunkers (Chile) - Nada Es Igual. I thought their bowl haircuts were so funny.
Kinky (Mexico) - Coqueta. Kinky came to The Middle East in Cambridge when I was 17. It was an 18-plus show, and I cried to my mom and asked why she couldn’t have given birth to me a month earlier.
Zoé (Mexico) – Paula. This song kills me every time. I studied for the SATs listening to it.
Maná (Mexico) - Arráncame el Corazon. Maná helped me learn Spanish the most. I specifically remember learning that tiburón meant shark from the song “El Rey Tiburón.”
Circo (Puerto Rico) - Antes del Fin. I played the piano a lot in high school, and absolutely loved this keyboard intro.
Fobia (Mexico) - 2 Corazones. Fobia had so many other catchy songs, like “Una Vida Sencilla” and “Todas las Estrellas.”
Babasónicos (Argentina) – Carasmático. Not only does this lead singer have a distinct voice anyways, but when learning Spanish I liked trying to pick out his Argentine accent.