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20 Bands to help you learn Spanish


Music by Dustin Gaffke (CC BY 2.0)

Memorizing vocabulary is dull and boring. Conjugating verbs is painstaking and enjoyed by no one. Learing Spanish is so much easier when the words are put together to have meaning.

Studying music takes the stress away of rote memorization and makes language learning fun. 

1. Maná

Genre: Rock
Country: Mexico

Maná are the kings of Latin Rock. They’re essentially the North American U2, only with more lyrics about drinking away your sadness.

2. Juanes

Genre: Pop
Country: Colombia

Most of Juanes’s songs are about love.. He is the fourth most popular Colombian after Shakira, Pablo Escobar, and the lady on Modern Family.

3. Reik

Genre: Pop
Country: Mexico

Reik won a Latin Grammy in 2009. They also win my personal award for “Best Mexican song about the Friend Zone.”

4. La Buena Vida

Genre: Indie Rock
Country: Spain

Their name is Spanish for “The Good Life,” which is how you will feel about your life after you listen to their music.

5. El Guincho

Genre: Electronica
Country: Spain

This singer describes his music as “space-age exotica.” He also sings lullabies on the side.

6. Café Tacuba

Genre: Alternative rock
Country: Mexico

Their name is sometimes spelled “Tacuba” and sometimes “Tacvba” because of a legal dispute with the cafe they named themselves after, making it the first Mexican legal problem not solved with a bribe.

7. Mala Rodríguez

Genre: Rap
Country: Spain

Mala Rodríguez is Andalusia’s most bad ass human being. Her lyrics will really make you think if you can understand her Andalucian accent.

8. Rubén Blades

Genre: Salsa
Country: Panama

Blades is one of the most well-known salsa singers of all time and one of the only Panamanians I can think of off the top of my head.

9. Ximena Sariaña

Genre: Pop
Country: Mexico

Her music is so amazing it was featured on the Mexican version of the Twilight New Moon Soundtrack.

10. Henry Mendez

Genre: Dance
Country: Dominican Republic/ Spain

This singer and I have a lot in common. We’re both immigrants to Spain and both our faces could easily scare small children.

11. Wisin y Yandel

Genre: Reggaeton
Country: Puerto Rico

“Wisin” and “Yandel” are obviously stage names. Yandel’s real name is “Llandel.”

12. Juan Magan

Genre: Dance
Country: Spain

This Catalan musician has been making hits since 2009. His songs are mostly about important things like dancing and seeing women yesterday.

13. Shakira

Country: Colombia

Shakira may be the most successful singer of our time. After all, there are no giant statues of Justin Bieber in Barranquilla, Colombia.

14. Calle 13

Genre: Alternative hip hop
Country: Puerto Rico

Calle 13’s music has always been unconventional, blending different styles such as rock, jazz, cumbia, tango, salsa, reggaeton. Recently their music has become increasingly political and has featured collaborators including Julian Assange.

15. Belanova

Genre: Pop
Country: Mexico

If you were terrible at identifying languages and other things, you may guess that this band was Japanese based on their sound. But they are very Mexican and very successful.

16. Don Omar

Genre: Pop, reggaeton
Country: Puerto Rico

His success is obvious by his alternative nickname “El Rey,” which means “The King,” putting him up on the same level as Elvis and Simba.

17. Daddy Yankee

Genre: Reggaeton
Country: Puerto Rico

Even if you’ve never heard of Daddy Yankee, you’ve likely heard one of his songs. One of his earliest hits was “Gasolina,” a song about gasoline.

18. Manu Chao

Genre: Alternative Rock
Country: France

Manu Chao was born in France to Spanish parents. He sings often in multiple languages and frequently about marijuana.

19. Paulina Rubio

Genre: Pop
Country: Mexico

Paulina Rubio is basically an older, sluttier, Mexican version of Shakira. And she has a great voice.

20. Chino y Nacho

Genre: Pop
Country: Venezuela

Their stage names translate to “Chinese” and “Nacho,” which coincidentally are also my two favorite food groups.

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5 Responses to 20 Bands to help you learn Spanish

  1. M May 25, 2014 at 7:17 AM #

    Thanks for some new artists! I’m loving Mala Rodríguez, wooow. That’s one sick rapper :D.

  2. Joel August 1, 2014 at 5:05 AM #

    What? No love for Amaral: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amaral_(band)?

    • Kate Peregrina August 1, 2014 at 2:08 PM #


  3. Ainhoa Inglés August 16, 2014 at 3:57 AM #

    Oooooh! They skip a lot of great and well known bands!! Skap, La Oreja de Van Gogh, El Canto del Loco, Héroes del Silencio, Mago de Oz, Mecano, Radio Futura, M Clan, Duncan Du, Amaral, Nino Bravo, David Bisbal, Obrint Pas, Duo Dinámico…

    I can keep writing, but it would take a while. Any way, I love your page. It really shows the real Spain (good things and bad things). Congratulations!!

    P.S. Spaniard.

  4. Julia November 30, 2014 at 11:28 PM #

    Great list! Another great group (from Granada, España)! is Los Planetas. 90s style/indie rock :)

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