Spanish, long considered Roma, has been spoken by more than 329 million people since 2009 and is the second most spoken language in the world. Many different countries also speak and sing in Spanish. From Mexico to Spain, Puerto Rico to Chile, popular songs have become international hits.
Although it became famous during Mexican independence in 1910, this folk corridor is actually from Spain, with verses dating back to the 15th Century. With satirical political jabs hidden in the words, ‘La Cucaracha’ has had verses written about wars in Spain and finally Mexico. The song has since become a party standard for Mariachi to play at weddings.
This classic song was written by Consuelo Velazquez. Although this song talks about kissing passionately, she had not been kissed at the time she wrote the ballad. Among the artists who have covered this song is the Beatles. Jazz musician Herb Alpert’s cover of ‘Besame Mucho’ was nominated for a Grammy in 2009 for best pop instrumental performance.
This Cuban tune was written in the late 1920s about a woman from Guantanamo. is also a guajira, a Cuban folk rhythm. There are many verses and sentences, so over the years many artists have taken liberties with the verses. In 1997, hip-hop artist Wy-Clef Jean invited Cuban singer Celia Cruz to sing on her album, Carnival. Their cover of ‘Guantamera’ was a hit, and the album sold over five million copies worldwide.
This folk music comes from the Mexican state of Veracruz. the song became an international hit in the late 1950s when singer Ritchie Valens performed it as a rock single. The valence and song were introduced in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. The song still sings in Mexico / Chicano family functions, and Los Lobos covered it in the 80’s for the film of the same name. Los Angeles’ punk band Plugz gave the song an aggressive punk bell in the late 70’s, a punk standard now as well.
Oye Como Va
This simple Cha-cha-cha was written by ‘Timbalans king,’ Tito Puente, 1963. It was covered by Carlos Santana in 1970, making it a mountain song and Santana an international star. The Santana cover was musically important, as it fused a Caribbean rhythm with a rock and roll. That song alone has influenced many Latin rockers like Los Lobos and Mars Volta.
Living la Vida Loca
This bilingual pop song made Ricky Martin an overnight sensation. Released in 1999, the song began a new acceptance of Latin rock / pop. Artists like Shakira, Mana and Juanes have all had huge careers in part because of this current international hit. The co-author of ‘Loca’, Draco Rosa, was a member of ‘Menudo’ with Martin when they were teenagers in Puerto Rico.
Herald Salsero and Actor Ruben Blades flared into the Salsa world in the late 70’s with his brand of social commentary music. ‘Pedro Navaja’ was the Blades’ tribute to ‘Mack the Knife’. ‘With the song running for more than seven minutes, the record company and close musical friends told Blades that it was too long to be single. The fans disagreed, which made the epic story one
Mariachi music, with charro pants, violins, trumpets, big guitars and big hats, is a worldwide phenomenon. This style in Mexico has been around since the 18th century. No song more than Ranchera, ‘Volver, Volver’, represents Mariachi to the world. International star Vicente Fernandez embodies Mexico and Mariachi with her vulnerable but powerful rendition of this torturous style of love, written in 1975 by Fernando Maldonado.
This Christmas pop mood, according to ACSAP, is one of the most downloaded and played holiday songs of all time. Blind singer / songwriter Jose Feliciano of Puerto Rico first released the song on a Christmas album in 1970. The English verse is repeated as the Spanish ‘I wish you a Merry Christmas from my heart.’ Covers have been made by the three Tenors and Celine Dion.