During September and October, the world recognizes the achievements of the Latinx (Latina and Latino, Hispanic, and everything in between) culture and heritage.
What makes Latinx so special is that its meaning does not fully encompass one type of people, gender, nation, or language, but instead focuses on sharing a common heritage of resiliency highlighted with an incredible amount of influences and mixtures of people throughout centuries of change.
To celebrate Latinx Heritage Month, we put together a playlist to help people get to know some amazing and influential Latinx artists.With this in mind, it is impossible to create a definitive list that would fully do justice to the rich and vast nuances of Latinx music.
...Latinx music has changed the world with its sound and influence.
This list has some artists are from Latin America, some directly from Europe, some will be very familiar, some are new and up-and-coming, some are mainstream, and some are very edgy, some vintage and folkloric sounding and so on. All, however, have had a great effect on the sound of the Latinx experience and are worthy of notice.
Familiar names like Shakira, Juanes, Marc Anthony, Julio Iglesias, Alejandro Sanz, and the late Celia Cruz have managed to stay relevant through the years because of the genius way they fuse their sounds and lyrics which is inspired by their Latin backgrounds and makes their music so relatable to the world today.
Hopefully, one of these songs will find themselves a permanent place on a new listener's musical repertoire. We break down the featured list for you here.
With a lead singer hailing from a Peruvian parents, Boy Pablo is a newbie on the music scene that has found great success recently in the US, although the band hails from Norway! They sing in English and feature lots of great writing about love struggles, yearnings and great garage rock vibes.
J. Balvin is one of the best-selling Latin music artists of all time and has collaborated with many artists, from Beyonce to Dua Lipa, and he is still rockin' the charts. Check out his album Oasis.
Shakira sang the feature theme song at the 2016 Summer Olympics, which featured lots of African beats and rhythms, but she also produces awesome rock (check out her earlier stuff) and should also be recognized for how she showcases her Colombian roots in all of her music. Have you heard the song Bicicleta yet, featuring Carlos Vives? You won't regret it! What a great way to learn the word bicycle (bicicleta).
Juanes, like Shakira, hails from Colombia and is an extremely talented songwriter and performer, both as a solo artist and performing with amazing international artists. Juanes writes most of his own songs, combining wonderful jungle rock'n'roll beats and somehow manages to make the accordion a rock music instrument - genius! Check out "A Dios le Pido", "Hoy Me Voy", "Para Tu Amor", especially live!
Alejandro Sanz brings to bear amazing Spanish and Gitano (gypsy) styles to his music and marries it with everything from rock to soul to salsa and more! Where would the world be without the brass and rhythm of "Corazon Partio"?
Marc Anthony, from Puerto Rico, is the King of Salsa with his incredible voice and orchestration. Don’t take my word for it- all you have to do is listen to “Vivir Mi Vida” and you will automatically start dancing salsa, guaranteed (*not guaranteed).
Julio Iglesias, the father of Enrique Iglesias, is another great from Spain, and has had an affect on the world of music with his famous smooth, romantic singing style and his renowned duets with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and even Willie Nelson! Check out his Greatest Hits album.
Celia Cruz is a gem, not only for Cubans, her motherland, but for all Latin Americans because she's mastered the Afro-Cuban music style and brought it to mainstream music, especially through her collaboration with Tito Puente. Don’t forget her catchphrase "¡Azúcar!" ("Sugar!"). Listen to her album Para La Eternidad.
To end the list in a grand finale style, we must also honor some of the greats of Latin American music:
It’s undeniable that Latinx music has changed the world with its sound and influence, but it cannot be described with such few artists. Hopefully, this list will be a gateway to finding a new favorite artist or style of music. You can also check out the compilation albums like Musas and Latin Music USA for more incredible music.
To start listening head to our playlist here for streaming or items ready for checkout from our collection. You can also try hoopla and Freegal for hundreds of songs and instrumental selections by Latinx artists, all free with your library card.
This list was compiled by a member of the library's Una Voz team. Staffed by Spanish speakers, the team provides in-house translation for Richland Library operations, virtual tutoring, Spanish learning programs and content that highlights vital resources. Check out their group on our Facebook page, here: Una Voz or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.