Rock music is usually associated with the English language. Most of the famous Rock bands sing in English. Plus, the economical situation of English-Speaking countries has favored the spread of this genre in this language.
However, this musical genre goes far beyond the limits of English and has also influenced and inspired musicians from the Spanish-speaking world. Spanish speaking rock bands are less known around the world, but not for that reason worse than their English counterparts.
The lyrics of rock bands reveal some important aspects of the Spanish-speaking world. They usually talk about the problems of society and the hard times that people go through in modern society. So they are a window to current issues of Spain and Latin America. Plus, the songs are really good. So here I introduce some rock bands from different Spanish-speaking countries.
Los Prisioneros (Chile)
This band was formed in 1979, in the middle of hard times for Chilean people, who were facing Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship. The sound of the band was influenced by punk, reggae, new wave, and synth pop music. Their songs criticized unequal opportunities in Chilean society and also protested against the military regime. Considering that people were killed at that time for holding different views to those of the regime and that there was not freedom of speech, they were very brave. Among some of their most famous songs are “La voz de los 80”, “El baile de los que sobran”, “¿Quién mató a Marilyn?” and “Tren al sur”, the latter was nominated “best latin video” in 1989 by the MTV Video Music Awards.
Soda Stereo (Argentina)
This is considered to be one of the most important rock bands of Latin America. It was formed in 1982. Their songs are but about sex and personal psychedelic feelings. Soda Stereo was influenced by new wave, progressive rock, Britpop and electronic music. Some of their most famous songs are “de música ligera”, “te hacen falta vitaminas”, “entre caníbales” y “signos”. In 2002, Soda Stereo was awarded the Legend Prize by MTV Latin America, which reflects their importance for the Spanish speaking community.
Charly García (Argentina)
Charly Garcia is a very important rock musician in the Spanish speaking world. He is probably one of the craziest rockers. He is famed for destroying hotel rooms and fighting against journalist. He also jumped from a ninth floor of a hotel into a swimming pool. He has always been very critical about society in his songs. During the Argentinean dictatorship of Jorge Videla, he sang against the regime, becoming the voice of the repressed. In 1988, he participated in the Amnesty International Tour, which was held to raise awareness of Human Rights. Some of his most famous songs are “Nos siguen pegando abajo”, “Estoy verde”, “Demoliendo hoteles” and “Los dinosaurios”.
Listen to Charly García
Los Jaivas (Chile)
This band was formed in 1963 and is considered one of the most important band of South America. The main influences of this band are progressive rock, jazz, and Andean music, one of the first bands to combine such different rhythms. Their songs usually talk about integration of the peoples and peace in the world, themes from the hippie movement. They are famed for having played in Machu Picchu in 1981, where they recorded the videos for their album “Alturas de Machu Picchu”. Some of their most famous songs are “Sube a nacer conmigo hermano”, “Mira niñita”, “Todos juntos” and “Hijos de la tierra”.
Listen to Los Jaivas
Manu chao (Francia-Spain)
Manuel Chao was born in France, but his family was originally from Spain, where he later returned. His songs are usually about immigration, life in ghettos, inequalities in society and abuse of power. His rock style is difficult to define, because he combines sound from different cultures, specially French, Spanish and African music. He started playing music on the streets until 1987, when he became member of the band “Mano Negra”, a classic when it comes to Spanish speaking rock. In 1995, he started his solo career. Some of his most famous songs are “Me gustas tú”, “Clandestino”, “Señor matanza” and “Indios de Barcelona”.
Listen to Manu Chao
This band is an icon in Latin America. It was formed in the 90s, time when some media criticized its rhythms for combining rock and Colombian folklore. Their songs usually discuss subjects such as ecological awareness, spiritutality, inequalities in modern society and immigration. Some of their most famous songs are “Florecita rockera”, “Bolero falaz”, “Cosita seria” and “Caribe atomico”. They have been awarded the Grammy Prize twice in their career and are ambassadors of Amnesty International.
Listen to Aterciopelados
These were just a few of the many rock bands from different Spanish-speaking countries. I hope this article has inspired you to do some research of your own and maybe add a few songs to your iPod. Rock on!
Hero Image by Rebelmx68 Perez (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)