Reader Question: Hello! I recently watched your video on how you learned Spanish in less than a year. I wanted to know what songs you played in the video, and if there are other spanish songs in particular that you would like to share? Thank you! – Halee, USA
You’re actually the third person to ask this! Everyone loved the song I used in that video. Well, Halee, it’s called La Invite A Bailar by Kevin Flores. We used to play that a lot when I was volunteering in a bar in Peru.
You’re on level 2! You’re actually interested in Spanish songs now! Majority of the people don’t know that songs help us a lot in learning a language. I used this method in learning French and Portuguese but let me tell you that if you are fluent in one Latin language, the rest will follow. They are pretty much the same. Coming to Brazil first, I honestly learned Portuguese first and when I came to Colombia, without zero knowledge in Spanish, I was surprised that I can understand the majority of the sentences. Now I forgot all my Portuguese. My love for Spanish becomes stronger and stronger. The more I speak it, the more I become comfortable using it on a daily basis.
So, here are some artists that I recommend for you to improve your Spanish listening skills. Their lyrics are simple, easy to understand and their song lyrics are very clear. Believe me, they helped me a lot!
1. Manu Chao
Manu Chao is a French/Spanish artist who has songs in different languages. He’s a language God! You can also listen to his old band called Manu Negra. I really love their beat!
2. Perota Chingo
I first watched them in the streets of Sao Paulo (Brasil), bought their EP and instantly fell in love! How their voices blend is so magical it will take you to another place! Their music is good for relaxing and writing.
3. Andres Calamaro
Andres Calamaro is an Argentinian artist and is a Latin Grammy winner. He’s one of the most popular rock icons of Argentina. You see those photo captions I put on my page? Those are his lyrics!
4. Las Pelotas
Las Pelotas is also a rock band from Argentina and I also saw them live together with Catupecu Machu! In the finale, they did this amazing number where all the famous rock bands (together with Salta La Banca, Carajo, etc) sang Magia Veneno and it was an amazing experience!
5. Carlos Vives
Like Andres Calamaro, Carlos Vives is also a Latin Grammy winner but he’s Colombian. He’s the first first first first first Latin artist I listened to when I arrived in Colombia. His songs are a bit romantic but the Colombians are known as the best Spanish speakers in South America because their diction is more clear.
6. Calle 13
Another favorite (and everyone else’s as a matter of fact), Calle 13 is a Puerto Rican band with an eclectic style. Their lyrics are also known for discussing Latin American culture and issues (political) so you’ll learn a lot from these dudes!
7. Jarabe de Palo
Jarabe de Palo is a Latin rock band who has this beautiful jazz feels. Try playing the video above! This is my favourite song because it resonates my life of travel. 😉
8. Marc Anthony
Just to have someone familiar, let’s add Marc Anthony to the list. Of course you all know him but I don’t think you are familiar with his Spanish songs. His famous track Vivir Mi Vida kept playing in the whole Latin American soil late last year, during the holidays. With that, I was able to memorise it.
9. La Vela Puerca
Vamos la vela de mi corazon! I saw them live in Uruguay for my birthday! Again, I have thoughtful friends. They also surprised me with this. La Vela Puerca is an Uruguayan band formed in 1955 but they are still famous up until today!
10. Daddy Yankee
You know him. You just don’t realise that it’s him. Do you remember that song Gasolina? That’s Daddy Yankee! I added this Puerto Rican singer to the list just to have a mix of Reggaeton but I like him too! You need some beat when you’re trying to study Spanish!
My Latin friends would not agree to some artists on the list because some of them are labeled as old school but let me tell you why I am recommending these particular artists. It’s not about the genre, it’s not about being cool but their lyrics are simple, easy to understand and very clear. Every time they hear me sing Carlos Vives, they’d be like, “WTH, Trisha!” For them, it’s uncool to listen to some of these solo artists. You know, like how you look at your friend while she’s singing Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus. I receive that type of look.
Tip: Do not go to lyrics.com and search for these songs. It is better to be familiar with the beat first. Remember, you are improving your listening skills, meaning, you should focus on how you receive the lyrics rather than understanding it. Responding is also a different case but we’ll have another discussion about that.
Learn how to sing these songs first. Understanding comes after. Once you can sing these songs, I promise you, it would be easier to understand what the lyrics mean. Additionally, you can also search some Latin playlists on Spotify or follow the playlists I made there. Just search for “Trisha Velarmino” and my profile will appear. 🙂
Here are some keywords to help you search a playlist on Spotify:
- Rock Argentino/Chileno/Uruguayo
- Mejor Rock en Español
- Melodia Acustico
- Cumbia Colombiana
- Amor Latino
- Exitos del Momento en (country)
- Salsa Latin
- and many more!
Just mix and match the word in this format: genre + country. But first, you should educate yourself with what typical music each country has. For example, there are more Salsa playlists in Cuba and Colombia because it’s their forte.
Remember, songs are for honing your listening skills. This method is not for understanding or responding. I’ll make a video about this soon so keep it here! And Halee, thank you for your message! I hope this helps in your Spanish Language learning adventure!
Cover Photo ©: Screenshot from Perota Chingo’s Rie Chinito music video (Youtube)
Are you also learning Spanish? Which artists helped you improve your listening skills?