Spanish music names: Classic Spanish Songs Everyone Needs to Hear and Know

Classic Spanish Songs Everyone Needs to Hear and Know

Inside: A guide to the classic Spanish songs that made history and shape Latin music today.

Some songs run in your veins. They take you home, your heart swells with memories, and maybe you can’t help but go grab your dancing shoes.

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, I’ve gathered a list of those songs here: 25 traditional songs in Spanish everyone should know.

The Latin music scene is so varied it’s not easy to make a list like this! But all the songs here are among the greats.

If you know these, you’ll have a solid intro to music in Spanish across its many different genres.

I had to leave out some of my own favorites to concentrate on just the most famous Spanish songs for you!

Related: The Best Spanish Love Songs

25 CLASSIC SPANISH SONGS

This lists includes the classics as represented by various styles, regions, and time periods.

Get ready to be transported around the world as we take our tour of these iconic songs.

1. GuantaNaMera

Guantanamera is is a classic folk song from Cuba, written in 1929 and based on a José Martí poem. The version below is performed by Celia Cruz, the legendary Cuban singer known as “The Queen of Salsa” and also famous for her song La Vida es un Carnaval

The tune has evolved through the years and used in struggles for peace and justice across Latin America and the U.S. It has been recorded by a remarkably long and diverse list of artists, including Joan Baez, the Fugees, Jimmy Buffett, Jose Feliciano, Julio Iglesias, Pete Seeger, and numerous others

– Live About

2. BambolEo

This rumba-flamenca classic was penned in 1987 and performed by a Gitano-French group, the Gipsy Kings. Some of the lyrics were borrowed from the Venezualan folk song Caballo viejo. The word bamboléo means to sway, as when dancing. Though the group is French, they were very influenced by Spanish culture.

3. La bamba

La Bamba represents a historical crossover between music in Mexico and the United States. 

It was the late 1950s when a 17-year-old boy took an old Mexican folk song and set it to a rock ‘n’ roll beat. La Bamba” made rock ‘n’ roll history when it became the first Latin-based song to cross over to the pop and rock audience. That teen-ager, Ritchie Valens, was made famous.

– NPR

Although Ritchie Valens died tragically in a plane crash at a young age, this catchy tune remains one of the most iconic Spanish songs on a global scale. The 1987 cover by Los Lobos is one of the only three Spanish-language songs to be No 1. in America.

4. Los caminos de la vida

From Colombia, Los caminos de la vida is a classic example of a “vallenato,” or in this case, a “cumbia vallenato.” It looks back on a difficult childhood; offering tribute to a brave mother fighting for her family.

5. Oye cómo va

Oye cómo va is a cha-cha-cha written by Latin Music king Tito Puente. Puente was born in New York to Puerto Rican parents, and his music was a fusion of dance, Afro-Cuban jazz, and mambo. 

The song only grew in fame when it was covered by guitar master Santana, and it was inducted into the Latin Grammy Hall of Fame in 2001.

6. Como la flor

This is one of the most famous songs from Selena Quintanilla, and won the Tejano Music Award in 1994.

In her short career, Selena dominated Latin charts. She broke into the US charts as well, with her fusion of pop, cumbia, and, dance music. She was known as “the Madonna of Tejano music” and is famous for Amor prohibido and Bidi bidi bom bom as well.

7.  Cielito lindo

This is perhaps the oldest song on this list, composed in 1882. The folk song is a staple in Mexican history and the famous refrain “Ay, ay, ay, ay– canta y no llores…” is known the world over. Cielito Lindo is played by mariachi bands, part of countless serenades, and even sung in soccer stadiums.

8. Querida

Querida was composed by Mexican singer-songwriter Juan Gabriel in 1984. Juan Gabriel, a flamboyant and passionate performer, was known as “El Divo de Juaréz.” His wildly successful career broke barriers in the music scene, especially in Latin America.

The version below is a 2015 version featuring Juanes.

9. Bésame mucho

In 1941, Consuelo Velázquez composed this famous love song at just 25 years old. Despite the passionate lyrics, she says she had never been kissed at the time of writing the lyrics.  

Bésame Mucho” is not so much an enduring standard as a global phenomenon. Translated into dozens of languages and performed by hundreds of artists, the song has been an emblem of Latin identity, an anthem of lovers separated by World War II and perennial grist for lounge singers everywhere.

– The New York Times

10. De música ligera

Soda Stereo is likely the most influential and classic rock band in Latin America. The Argentinian group received an MTV Legend Award and sold over 20 million albums. According to Google Arts and Culture, their 1990 song De música ligera:

…is one of Soda Stereo’s most famous and symbolic songs, whose musical influence has been remarkable in the history of Latin rock for over two decades. Due to its popularity, the song is considered an anthem of rock en español.

11. Bailando

Performed by Enrique Iglesias, Bailando holds the record for the longest-running No. 1 spot on the Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart– for 41 weeks. It also received 3 Latin Grammys.

The song, performed with Gente de Zona and Descemer Bueno, is a fusion of reggaeton, flamenco, and dance music.

12. Llorarás

From Oscar D’Leon, Venezuelan musician and singer, Llorarás is one of the best examples of salsa. It was produced in 1974, with D’Leon and the group Dimension Latina.

13. El rey

A Latin Grammy Hall of Fame song, José Alfredo Jiménez wrote El Rey in 1971. It’s among the most famous mariachi songs of all time, with many covers.

The one below is performed by Vicente Fernández and shows the impact on many different artists.

14. Historia de un amor

Panamanian Carlos Eleta Almarán wrote this bolero in 1955, after the death of his brother’s wife. It inspired a movie by the same name and various covers in year since. Renowned Mexican singer Pedro Infante covered the song as well, which became one of his most famous hits. The cover below is sung by Guadalupe Pineda.

The song tells of a man’s suffering after his love has disappeared. It holds the world record to be the most popular song to be translated and sung across the world in various languages by various singers from the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

– Google Arts and Culture

15. Caballo viejo

Caballo Viejo is a Venezuelan folk song, written and composed by Simón Diaz in 1980. This is one of the most classic examples of traditional tropical music, and the version by Roberto Torres y su Charanga Vallenata is included the Latin Grammy Hall of Fame.

16. Eres Tú

Juan Carlos Calderón was the famous songwriter behind the song Eres Tú. It was released by the Spanish group Mocedades in 1974, and was actually Spain’s entry song for the Eurovision Song contest in 1973. The song reached international fame and hit #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

18. La rebelión

This classic salsa song was written by Joe Arroyo in 1986. Though the upbeat tempo and music may make you want to get up and dance, the story is based on a story suffering in the context of the slave trade in Colombia, during the Spanish rule.

Known as “El Joe,” Joe Arroyo is a significant symbol not only of salsa but also in Afro-diasporic music. His Afro-Latino storytelling was empowered through a variety of African beats that are present in Colombian music like champeta and porro as well as styles like soca, calypso and merengue.

– People en español

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWBf9hfW_4Y

18. Dile Al Amor

Romeo Santos is one of the legends of bachata, and his roots with the group Aventura brought the genre into mainstream music.  It hit #1 on Billboard Hot Latin Songs in 2009.

19. La gota fría

La gota fría is an early example of a vallenato folk song, written in the 1938 by Emiliano Zuleta. The version released by Carlos Vives in 1993 both popularized the genre and helped launch Vives’ career. This style influenced many major artists such as Shakira.

20. Macarena

Macarena was originally a flamenco-pop song. It was written in 1992 by two Spanish musicians, Antonia Romero and Rafael Ruiz, under their group name Los Del Rio. An American label released an English version 1995 and it exploded in popularity the summer of 1996, and hit #1 for a record fourteen weeks.

21. Inevitable

Although Shakira has more recently popular music, her groundbreaking work and classic sound can be found in songs like this one. Shakira is sometimes called “The Queen of Latin Music,” with a globally recognized name and songs that top charts in both English and Spanish.

23. HOy

Hoy is one of the most successful singles released by Gloria Estefan and won an International Latin Billboard Music Award.  The tropical-dance pop song was composed by Peruvian songwriter Gian Marco Zignago and filmed in Machu Picchu.

Gloria Estefan is a pioneer in the music industry, paving the way for other Latin artists after her. She is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and 7 Grammys, and is in the Vh2 and Billboard lists for Top 100 greatest artists of all time.

24.

Quizás, Quizás, Quizás

Quizás, quizás, quizás is a cha-cha-cha written by Osvaldo Farrés in 1947. It has been covered by many famous artists like Nat King Cole and Doris Day, and Julio Iglesias.

25. Livin’ the Vida Loca

Livin’ la vida loca is an iconic 1999 Latin pop song that took the world by storm. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks and was named on the list for Best Latin Songs of All Time. Ricky Martin, a Puerto Rican singer is one of the all-time most famous Latino performers.

Honorary Mention: Despacito

Despacito is more recent than most that made this list, but its sheer popularity makes it notable. The pop-reggaeton song burst onto the global music scene 2017 and made history on both the Spanish and English music charts. It is the most-watched YouTube video of all time, with almost 8 billion views. Luis Fonsi wrote the original song, and the remix features Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber.

Is it too soon to be considered a classic? Probably so, but it will undoubtedly be included in any future lists!

More Information on Famous Spanish Songs

What are the main Genres of Spanish Music?

This in not an exhaustive list, but here are some of the core genres:

  • Bachata
  • Cumbia
  • Danzón
  • Huayno
  • Latin Pop
  • Mambo
  • Mariachi
  • Merengue
  • Norteño
  • Pachanga
  • Ranchera
  • Reggaeton
  • Rock en español
  • Salsa
  • Tango
  • Tejano
  • Timba
  • Tropical
  • Vallenato

What Is the most played spanish song?

This is hard to measure, due to covers and metrics from older songs. However, Despacito ranks highest as the single most-streamed song in Spanish by YouTube metrics.

What Is the Most famous Latina Singer?

It’s difficult name just one and depends if we are measuring by views, awards, or name-recognition.

Here are five Latinas that must be included in the top 5:

  1. Gloria Estefan (Latin Dance pop, has sold 70 million+ albums)
  2. Celia Cruz (“The Queen of Salsa”)
  3. Selena (“The Queen of Tejano Music”)
  4. Shakira (Among the most-streamed and Billboard Top 10 in the past decade)
  5. Jennifer Lopez (Global name recognition)

What Is the Most famous Latino Singer?

Again, these answers can vary. The Latin music has tended heavily toward male artists, and there are a lot of famous names.

Again, this is not a list of the most historical artists, just listed in terms of sheer popularity. Here’s a starter list:

  1. Enrique Iglesias (“The King of Latin Pop”)
  2. Daddy Yankee (“The King of Reggaeton”)
  3. Luis Miguel (Latin Pop and other genres)
  4. Julio Iglesias (Sold over 100 million albums)
  5. Santana

What Is the Most famous Love Song in Spanish?

Bésame mucho is probably the most famous romantic Latin song, of all time.

What Is the Most famous Song in Spanish?

Despacito is the most-streamed Spanish song ever, at over 8 billion views.

Feliz Navidad by José Feliciano probably ranks number 1 for global recognition.

La bamba is probably the most recognized song in Spanish, in the past century.

What Is the Most famous Mexican Song in Spanish?

La bamba by Ritche Valens, or Querida by Juan Grabriel.

What Spanish Singer Has the Most Grammys?

The Latin Grammy began in 1989, so this list reflects that!

Most Latin Grammys by a male artist:

  1. René Pérez Joglar (31)
  2. Eduardo José Cabra Martínez (24)
  3. Juanes (23)
  4. Juan Luis Guerra (18)
  5. Carlos Vives (14)

Most Latin Grammys by a female artist:

  1. Natalia LaFourcade (14)
  2. Shakira (12)
  3. Rosalía (8)
  4. Maria Rita (7)
  5. Mercedes Sosa, Julieta Venegas (6)

Most Latin Grammys by a group:

  1. Calle 13 (22)
  2. Café Tacuba, Banda el Recodo (9)
  3. Maná, Jesse & Joy, Los Tigres del Norte (6)
  4. Molotov (5)
  5. Grupo Pesado (4)

Now you tell me what I missed! Comment with your favorite traditional songs in Spanish below.

We are so excited for our sixth annual Hispanic Heritage Month series! Through the month (September 15 – October 15), you’ll find great resources to share Hispanic Heritage with kids, plus you can enter to win in our great giveaway and link up your own posts on Hispanic Heritage!

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Different Types of Latin Music Genres You Need To Know

In December of last year, Billboard reported that Latin music was the fourth most-streamed genre in the US on DSPs such as Spotify – and third for video streaming on YouTube. But if your Latin music go-to is ‘Despacito’ on repeat, then there’s a huge number of different Latin music genres and styles to discover.

From vibrant salsa to romantic bachata, reggaeton to Regional Mexican, Brazilian samba and chilled out bossa nova to Argentina’s passionate tango, it’s time to explore the history of Latin music – and who are today’s most influential stars.

For an introduction to the music, dive in with the Latin America playlist.

Latin Music Genres List

  • Latin pop
  • Salsa
  • Bachata
  • Tango
  • Modern Latin Music: Raggaeton
  • Brazilian Music:
    • Samba
    • Bossa Nova
  • Latin Rock & Alternative Music:
    • Rock en Español
  • Regional Mexican Music:
    • Mariachi
    • Norteño

Latin Music Styles

Latin Pop

The Miami Super Bowl halftime concert this year featured Colombian superstar Shakira and Jennifer Lopez sporting a Puerto Rican flag, performing a set full of English and Spanish hits and deftly illustrating how thoroughly Latin music has taken centre stage around the world.

Latin pop is constantly evolving, and takes in everything from salsa to rock en Español. And as Rolling Stone notes, ‘some of the most famous Latin pop songs have survived military dictatorships, war, famine and natural disasters – and they still hold up in spite of passing trends.’

Get an overview of modern Latin Pop with this playlist, or check out Andrea Rocha’s album, Mi Barrio for reggaeton-infused latin pop.

Salsa 

Salsa is one of the best known and most popular Latin music genres worldwide.

The first salsa bands were predominantly from Cuba and Puerto Rico – the music then spread through Colombia and the rest of the Americas until it became a global phenomenon.

New York had been a centre of Cuban-style dance music since the 1940s, when Cuban artists brought Afro-Cuban son music into the USA.

Son combined with traditions from African American jazz to create a Caribbean jazz sound, which was embraced by Salsa artists across the Caribbean and the United States, especially among Puerto Ricans in New York.

When Cuban musicians could no longer go to New York after Fidel Castro had claimed control in 1959, the city’s Puerto Rican musicians quickly filled the vacuum – taking the Cuban-inspired Latin jazz sound and bringing in their own sounds, together with mambo and Latin boogaloo, to create a new style: salsa.

When a song started, apparently the bandleader would shout ‘Salsa!’ to get the crowd going, hence the name.

Salsa artists like Willie Colón, Héctor Lavoe, Ruben Blades, Fania All Stars, Marc Antony and Celia Cruz – known as ‘The Queen of Salsa’ — helped to popularise the genre internationally.

The contemporary salsa sound coming out of Cuba is known as timba. It’s a fast-tempo salsa, with a strong Afro-Cuban influence whose songs often follow a more traditional rumba structure, with a slow start, then a core salsa rhythm with a call-and-response vocal.

   

Bachata

Bachata originated in the Dominican Republic in the 1960s, with songs produced by José Manuel Calderón – the first was ‘Borracho de Amor’ in 1962.

Bachata mixed elements from son with the pan-Latin American style bolero and its troubadour singing tradition.

It wasn’t really until the 1990s, however, that this latin music genre became truly popular, as it changed from using nylon stringed Spanish guitars and maracas to electric steel string and guira used by bands such as Monchy y Alexandra and Aventura.

A typical bachata group has seven instruments – the requinto (lead guitar), segunda (rhythm guitar), electric guitar, guitar, bass guitar, bongos and guira.

Some of today’s most popular bachata artists include Romeo Santos (who was previously in Aventura), who has collaborated with Drake, Usher and Marc Anthony, Prince Royce and Luis Vargas.

Another genre to have emerged from the Dominican Republic is merengue, whose origins can be traced back to the 19th century.

With African and Spanish influences, it’s based on a repeating five-beat rhythmic pattern called a quintillo. It’s usually performed on a diatonic accordion, a tambura (a two-sided drum) and a güira, a metal scraper – merengue music often includes brass, such as horns and saxophone as well.

The merengue is also the Dominican Republic’s national dance, performed in ballroom dance competitions alongside the salsa. It became popular outside of the Dominican Republic following mass migration of Dominicans to New York City in the 1960s, and has inspired musicians such as Carlos Santana.

Other famous merengue artists include Sergio Vargas, Mala Fe, Elvis Crespo, Milly Quezada and Los Hermanos Rosario.

Listen to more bachata and merengue on the tropical Latin playlist.

Tango 

Tango has become one of the most celebrated Latin music genres in dance, having evolved during the 19th century in Buenos Aires’ immigrant communities.

Tango brings together a myriad of other styles, including flamenco, polka, hanabera, and milonga.

It typically features guitar, bandoneon, piano, violin, flute and double bass and is marked out with its sudden changes of dynamics and staccato phrases — together, of course, with its usually intense and often melancholic mood.

Carlos Gardel, known as ‘the King of Tango’ propelled the genre into the mainstream at the beginning of the last century; other celebrated tango artists include Astor Piazzolla, and Argentine stars on the ‘neo tango’ scene, such as Tanghetto.

Explore tango tracks on the Latin Collection playlist, or listen to Latin Grammy nominee Gustavo Casenave’s dramatic, powerful ‘A Don Hetore’.

Modern Latin Music: Reggaeton

Reggaeton has exploded into the mainstream, with artists such as Bad Bunny and J. Balvin killing it on streaming platforms and ‘Despacito’ becoming the most viewed YouTube video of all time – and the first to hit five billion views.

Originating with Panamanian El General (Edgardo A. Franco) in the late 1970s, and catching the imagination of youth in Puerto Rico in the 1990s, reggaeton fuses reggae and Jamaican dancehall with hip hop and Latin music such as salsa and bomba, together with dembow rhythms, rapping and singing, typically in Spanish.

Reggaeton captured a global audience in 2004, with the release of Daddy Yankee’s album Barrio Fino and breakout single ‘Gasolina’.

Daddy Yankee also featured on Luis Fonsi’s ‘Despacito’, which signalled another reggaeton revolution, and it now looks commercially unstoppable (you can even hear its influence in Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’).

Colombia’s Karol G’s collaboration with Nicki Minaj, ‘Tusa’, became the first song by two women to top Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart, breaking the somewhat all-male stranglehold on reggaeton.

Brazilian Music 

Samba 

Samba originated in Africa as the music of former slaves and African religions, but has become an icon of Brazilian national identity. It developed in Brazil in the early 1900s, in Rio’s favelas.

A samba band consists mainly of percussion instruments playing syncopated rhythms, together with call-and-response.

The samba band leader uses an Apito (a whistle) to signal breaks and calls, with metal drums — Repinique (or the Reps) – leading introductions, played with a wooden stick and one hand; Surdo – the large bass drums which hold the beat, snare drums, shakers and agogô (double metal cow bells).

Bossa Nova 

Bossa Nova literally means ‘new trend’ or ‘new wave’, and it became the music of choice for an emerging Brazilian middle class.  It emerged in a period of Brazilian democracy between the early 1950s and the mid-60s, as the society left behind its colonial past and looked towards the rest of the world.

Bossa nova songs, in contrast with samba songs, focus on personal emotions, such as love, longing and nature. Samba’s themes concentrate more on politics and carnival.

Get a rundown on the current Brazilian music scene from rising star Sarah Roston.

Latin Rock & Alternative Music 

Latin alternative music, or ‘alterlatino’ refers to Latin rock music that combines genres including alt rock, lo-fi, chillout, metal, electronica, hip hop, new wave, punk, reggae and ska with traditional Ibero-American sounds.

It’s a genre that as Billboard.com says, is ‘pushing boundaries in multiple, unexpected directions, with exciting results’. 

Established alt-female collective LADAMA, whose members hail from Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and the US are at the forefornt of the genre. 

Strong Latin female voices are under-represented in rap, but Mexican Niña Dioz is a name to watch out for.

Dioz started rapping on stage at 18 and quickly gained attention for her experimental beats and combination of electronic, Caribbean and Latin elements in her music.

Types of Spanish Music: Rock en Español

One of the pioneers of Rock en Español was Ritchie Valens, whose ‘La Bamba’ adapted a Mexican folk song, fusing it with rock melodies, in 1958.

In the 1970s, the ‘Latin Rock’ genre was coined, while Argentine artists Charly Garcia and Luis Alberto Spinetta became two of the key members of the Rock en Español movement.

The genre was booming in the 1980s as Heroes del Silencio from Spain, Los Prisioneros from Chile and Mexico’s Caifanes emerged on the scene.

Today’s stars of Rock en Español include Shakira, Y La Bamba and Natalia Lafourcade.

Regional Mexican Music 

Regional Mexican music is an umbrella term covering folk genres from mariachi to cumbia, norteño, banda and ranchera.

Explore the Regional Mexican playlist for an introduction to the music.

Mexican Music Genres

Mariachi

Joyful, passionate mariachi music is often a feature of important events and celebrations such as birthdays, baptisms and weddings.

Its stringed instruments and oldest rhythms date back to Mexico’s colonial history (1519-1810), with mariachi emerging from the small towns of western Mexico in the 1850s.

Radio stations and movie studios took mariachi to new audiences from the 1930s onwards, and now major annual mariachi festivals, such as the International Mariachi Festival of Guadalajara, staged every September, feature local and internationally renowned groups.

A mariachi band can consist of as many as eight violins, two trumpets and at least one guitar – the traditional guitar is the vihuela, a high-pitched, round-backed guitar that provides the rhythm and the guitarrón, a bass guitar. All of the band’s players take turns singing lead and doing backup vocals and wear highly embroidered charro outfits.

Norteño

Norteño is named for its birthplace in northern Mexico, and has a rural and traditional sensibility. It’s usually played by an ensemble featuring an accordion, bajo sexto (a baritone-range twelve-string guitar), bass, drums and vocalists.

Its roots date back to the late 1800s when the Mexican population was introduced to a variety of European folk dances such as polkas, waltzes, mazurkas and redovas by German and Czech immigrants.

The genre exploded in popularity in the 1950s and by the 1970s, it was the most popular style of music amongst the working classes in Texas and northern Mexico.

Los Tucanes de Tijuana became the first norteño act at Coachella and think that, ‘with trap and reggaeton, the doors are opening for more styles within the genre of Latin music’. Listen to Los Bravos del Norte and Los Tigres del Norte for a deeper dive into norteño.

Los Tigres also perform the corrido – a narrative, poetic ballad illustrating socio-political tensions or historic events that relate to the immigrant or working class experience.

Cumbia is another hugely popular style of regional Mexican music which originated in Colombia, whose popularity has spread throughout Latin America, from Argentina to Chile, Peru and Venezuela.

Similar to salsa, it also features guitars, accordions, bass guitar and percussion.

Colombian singer Luis Carlos Meyer Castandet emigrated to Mexico in the 1940s – his album La Cumbia Cienaguera is considered to be the first cumbia record outside Colombia.

One of today’s biggest cumbia bands is Los Ángeles Azules, whose collaboration with Ximena Sarinana, ‘Mis Sentimientos’ became regional Mexican music’s most-watched video of all time and secured them a place in YouTube’s elite Billion View Club.

Streaming has also made superstars of regional Mexican music artists such as Banda MS, while the global reach of a Netflix series like Narcos has given Mexican music another boost through its soundtrack.

The importance of incorporating traditional elements into contemporary tracks is explained by Chilean singer Mon Laferte, who is now based in Mexico City.

She told Rolling Stone that, ‘I’m not a purist, and I don’t make traditional Mexican music, nor traditional salsa, But I try to take cues from it and bring it into the present, ’ as she wants to reflect the richness of the music.

Latin artists show no signs of slowing down, so whether you’re into reggaeton or Latin trap, boyband CNCO, acts such as Fuerza Regida bringing their experiences to traditional genres, or Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny collaborating with Cardi B and Balvin, you’re spoiled for choice.

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90,000 10 Spanish music hits to improve your vocabulary. Spain in Russian

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Training

The most effective ways to learn a language are those that give you pleasure. And what could be more pleasant than listening to your favorite songs and singing along? So you can not only improve your pronunciation, pump up listening, but also remember a few new words. It has been proven that positive emotions improve memory, and repetition is generally the main secret of memorization. Let’s pay attention to several subtleties of the «musical» training system.

Listening and remembering

  1. Find out something about the artist of the track you like. This is good for general development, and can give you an idea of ​​whether you can use his texts to enrich your vocabulary. Prison-themed rappers aren’t likely to do much to build up an active vocabulary, but pop stars tend to do just fine. The origin of the singer is also important: there is a risk of acquiring a specific accent.

  2. It is necessary not only to listen, but also to read. Be sure to find the words (in Spanish «letra» or «letras») and follow the lyrics with your eyes as the composition itself sounds. On YouTube, you can watch not only clips, but also a karaoke version of any song. If even with the text in front of your eyes it’s hard to “hear” this song, then it’s better to leave this song until better times.

  3. Do individual phrases have at least some meaning, or is the song a collection of random words, and it is not possible to retell it? In the latter case, let only aesthetic pleasure remain. If it is difficult to understand the content of the song, then the site www.es.lyrsense.com will surely find its translation into Russian, along with notes about unusual grammatical structures or words found in the text. Remember that many musicians tend to sacrifice grammatical correctness or meaning in favor of melodiousness. Doubt a certain phrase? Ask a teacher, a Hispanic friend, etc.

  4. Make sure that the text is written in an acceptable level of literary language. The abundance of slang words, dialectisms, colloquial vocabulary (check the notes in the dictionary next to these words) will reduce the effectiveness of this kind of learning. You can listen, use it in your own speech — it is undesirable.

Despacito won’t help?

The music of Spain is incredibly varied. If you don’t have a few favorite songs in stock, you can just search «mejores canciones en español» and rely on the opinions of millions. Listen to them, select those that you would gladly listen to again and analyze according to the proposed algorithm, write it down for yourself and listen to it while driving, during household chores, in the gym, on a walk. Do not forget to glance at the parallel texts of the Spanish and Russian versions from time to time.

So, the list is made. Enjoy your pastime to the sounds of Spanish melodies! If you find it difficult to choose, then here are 10 songs that will surely appeal to those who are interested in replenishing their vocabulary. Let’s say right away that the super popular «Dança kuduro» and «Despacito» are not included in this list: several languages ​​​​are mixed in the first composition, and there are not enough words, except that the word cintura — «waist, belt» will come in handy; in the second — the vocabulary is quite peculiar, of little use in everyday life. Remember the diminutive suffix -ito, which is often found in the speech of Spanish speakers, especially in Latin America: despacito — “slowly, little by little”, and literally “slowly” at all.

We dance, sing and study with pleasure

  1. La camisa negra – Juanes. This song is the best way to remember that in Spanish «to have» is not haber but tener and most adjectives come after the noun. Amargo means «bitter», la mentira means «lie», la calma means «calmness»… There are a lot of words here that will come in handy when listening to almost any song in Spanish. We must not forget about ready-made structures, for example: por culpa de, por la tarde, ni siquiera, etc. A plus is the incendiary rhythm and the perfect pronunciation of the Colombian performer. In principle, Juanes can generally be considered an ideal “manual” for Spanish learners: listen to at least A Dios le Pido or Te busqué with Nelly Furtado, they just want to sing along.

  1. No sé por qué te quiero — Ana Belén and Antonio Banderas. The rhythm of the bolero is not too fast, the words are well perceived by ear. Well, how else would you know the verb pellizcar — «pinch» or the noun freno — «brakes» (automobile)? An example of a negative enumeration is also worth remembering: No tiene nombre ni documentos. For those who are no longer surprised by this, there is a wonderful construction Si no me hicieran falta tus besos, me tratarías mejor que a un perro — “If I didn’t need your kisses, you would treat me better than a dog” . Learn how to build phrases using this construction and take your Spanish to the next level.

  1. Solamente Tú – Pablo Alboran. Something, but you will never forget the phrase solamente tú. But there is also la garganta, los celos, las olas, el alma, la luz; verbs navegar, despertarse, enseñar! The song is rich in marvelous grammatical constructions: from the simple Llena de… to Haces que mi cielo vuelva a tener – where both the subjunctive phrase (thus frightening many subjunctives) and perífrasis verbal Volver a + infinitivo occur.

  1. Bailando — Enrique Iglesias. If this cheerful composition has not yet set your teeth on edge, try to research it for useful vocabulary, and you will be pleasantly surprised. Subiendo, bajando, se me corta, vacia. You will remember forever that instead of the form «con tí» you need to say «contigo», and after a few hours alone with the Spanish grammar, you can effectively say Ya no puedo más. For advanced language learners, for example, there is an excellent construction with the subjunctive Te suplico que no salga el sol — «I beg that the sun does not rise (in the sense that the night does not end)».

  1. «Colores en el viento» — Ana Torroja or Susana Zabaleta (there are several Spanish versions of this song and they are all good). This song can hardly be called a hit, but many have heard it. The soundtrack to the famous Disney cartoon Pocahontas. The song, dedicated to the Spanish-speaking conqueror of Central America, sounds nice and will definitely enrich your vocabulary. There is a lot of unusual vocabulary related to nature, the animal world: la roca — «rock», la criatura — «creature, creature», el lince — «lynx». Some verbs are unlikely to be useful to you, but what the hell is not joking, they will suddenly meet: aullar — “howl”, hallar — “find”. And watch the cartoon itself, in Spanish, of course. You will not regret!

  1. Hijo de la Luna – Mecano. There are many options, even Lara Fabian, choose any. Another fabulously beautiful song that tells the story of an unfortunate gypsy and her difficult relationship with the moon. La hembra — «female, female», la plata — «silver», la cuna — «cradle». Now you will know exactly how to ask who the child is from (¿De quién es el hijo?), so you can safely sit down to some Latin American soap opera.

  1. Ella-Bebe. A very emotional song by no less emotional performer, whose real name is Nieves Rebolledo Vila. Her lyrics are full of acute social topics, for example, this song, like Malo, is dedicated to the role of women in machisto society, about the recognition of women themselves. Phraseologisms (tirar la toalla) are presented here, both the most commonly used words, such as el espejo, el invierno, el suelo, and more difficult vocabulary: el fracaso, los tacones, el pudor, la pestaña, las telarañas.

  1. Llamando a la Tierra — M-Clan. Firstly, even the name itself helps to remember that complemento indirecto (indirect complement) must always be preceded by the preposition «a». There are also useful words here. Common la nave — «ship», la dimensión — «measurement», el cuento — «fairy tale, story», las notícias — «news» or exotic los años luz — «light years». There are also useful constructions: Estoy a … años/kilometros (about distance), no estoy tan mal.

  1. No me ames — Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony. A rare song arranged in the form of a dialogue. Ideal for listening before love «showdowns». You can quarrel (loco testarudo — «crazy stubborn»), and promise to be together forever («seguiremos siempre juntos»). There are many examples of the negative form of the imperative: no me ames — «do not love me», no me dejes — «do not leave me».

  1. Fiebre – Ricky Martin. When you see this name, you involuntarily begin to hum Bailamos… But you can hum and learn the language not only with Bailamos. Enrique Martin Morales has many beautiful compositions. For example, in the song of 2018 you will find everything you need to communicate on medical topics: in fact, la fiebre — «heat, temperature», la tensión — «pressure», la receta — «recipe», curar — «treat, heal» , as well as such rarely mentioned parts of the body as the neck (cuello) and navel (ombligo).

It’s hard to make it into the top 10, because there are a huge number of great songs sung in Spanish, and everyone has different tastes, but perhaps these songs will push you to a deeper acquaintance with the Spanish-speaking musical culture. ¡Bailamos!

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learning spanish, spanish music, iglesias, songs in spanish, spanish music, spanish hits, vocabulary, vocabulary, spanish vocabulary, spanish alone, juanes, ricky martin, jennifer lopez

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