10 Mexican Musicians Everyone Needs to Know

Exploring Mexico’s Sounds

Mexican music is as vibrant and diverse as the country’s rich cultural tapestry. From the heart-rending ballads of ranchera to the energetic beats of norteño, the music of Mexico resonates with stories of love, life, and tradition. One iconic figure is Vicente Fernández, often referred to as the king of ranchera music. His powerful voice and emotional delivery have made him a household name, with a career spanning decades and earning him countless accolades. His music transcends generational divides, and his performances continue to draw massive audiences, cementing his status as a living legend in Mexican music.

In the realm of rock, Café Tacvba stands out as a band that has revolutionized the genre in Mexico. Blending rock with indigenous rhythms and electronic sounds, they have created a unique musical identity. Their innovative approach to music and their commitment to cultural expression have made them one of the most influential and respected bands in the Latin American music scene. Their 1994 album “Re” is often heralded as a milestone in Latin rock, showcasing their versatility and the rich diversity of Mexican music.

The Mexican pop scene has also seen its stars, and none shines brighter than Thalía. Known as the “Queen of Latin Pop,” Thalía has become an international sensation with her catchy tunes and dynamic performances. Her success both in music and television has earned her a loyal fan base, and her contributions to the pop genre have helped spread Mexican music across the globe. Her ability to connect with fans through her upbeat music and vibrant personality makes her an enduring figure in the world of entertainment.

For those who favor the traditional sounds of Mexico, the music of Lila Downs offers a deep connection to the country’s indigenous roots. With a voice that captures the essence of Mexican soul, Downs blends elements of jazz, folk, and world music with her native Mixtec culture. Her commitment to social issues and her profound lyrics speak volumes about the struggles and resilience of the Mexican people. Her album “Pecados y Milagros” is a testament to her talent and her importance as a cultural ambassador for Mexican music.

Last but not least, the innovative sound of Natalia Lafourcade has made a significant impact on contemporary Mexican music. Her delicate voice and heartfelt songwriting have earned her a place among the most celebrated musicians of her generation. Lafourcade’s exploration of different genres, including pop, rock, and folk, has resulted in a rich discography that pays homage to Mexico’s musical heritage while forging new paths. Her album “Hasta la Raíz” and her tribute to the legendary Mexican composer Agustín Lara, “Mujer Divina,” showcase her ability to bridge the past and the present in Mexican music.

Musical Projects Shaping the Mexican Scene

Delving into the heart of Mexico’s musical evolution, this article spotlights ten seminal projects by Mexican artists who have profoundly influenced various music genres. These projects not only encapsulate the artists’ unique contributions but also reflect the broader spectrum of Mexico’s musical heritage, blending traditional sounds with modern expressions to create a rich, diverse auditory experience. Each project underscores the artist’s role in shaping the contemporary music scene, highlighting their creativity, cultural significance, and global impact.

1. Los Cienpies

Los Cienpies is a project that came up in 2010, thanks to the compositions of Lariza Arévalo. After many alignments and modifications to their proposal, finally in 2015 were born as a pop band with the influence of other genres. They offer a rich mix and variety of jazz, samba, bossa nova and alternative rock; making it one of the freshest proposals from Texcoco, a little city in Mexico.

2. Belafonte Sensacional

Rock group formed in 2009 and originative from Mexico City. They began playing music for a charity festival y then they recorded their album “Le petit Riot”, where cheerful melodies with depressive lyrics were listened, after this they recorded “Gazapo”, their first LP where they imprinted titles like “Valedor” and “Lo hice por el punk”. Although many of their followers classifies them as a folk or punk band, the truth is that their discographic material sounds more to pure rock n’ roll. One of the main characteristics of Belafonte Sensacional is that they make the whole public dance.

3. De Nalgas

De nalgas is a punk band formed in Mexico City in 2010. Many of their songs contain lyrics and critics against the system, government and religion that are censored by the press and the media. They have several singles and EP’s, from which “IVA México” won a recognition as Best Punk Album by the Indie-o Music Awards in 2013. Besides, they have participated in different festivals, among them the Vive Latino in Mexico City, where they are presented by local bands from the independent scene.

4. Silvana Estrada

Silvana Estrada is a Mexican singer/songwriter from Xapala, Veracruz. She plays with the words, sound and beauty of the emotions. Under the influence of the Latin American folklore, the ‘son jarocho’, and even ‘rancheras’ (a Mexican typical genre), her music is a combination of regional sounds with lyrics close to the experiences we all have ever lived once. Currently, Silvana is recording an album based on a broken heart ache, with hope of understand the feeling deeply and better. We all have to be alert because her next album “Marchita” will be released in 2020.

5. Los Aguas aguas

Los aguas aguas is a rock group that fuses different rhythms, among them are the ‘jarocho’, a musical genre from Veracruz, from where also are originative the members of this music band, specifically from Xalapa. They also mix other rhythms like funk and jazz, what makes their discography full of funny songs like “Tranquilo y Tropical” or “La Playa”, which have more an inclination to reggae. Currently they count with two albums: “Easy and Tropical Machine” (2009) and “Two, Three Karate Moves” (2012).

6. Los Cojolites

A group of ‘son jarocho’ born in Veracruz. The group members mix instruments like the ‘jarana jarocha’ (a guitar-shaped fretted stringed instrument from Mexico), the guitar and the tap dance (‘zapateado’). Los Cojoites’ melodies are very colorful and talk about their family and community’s traditions. They started in 1995 as part of a project dedicated to recover the artistic and cultural expressions of the ancient residents from Cosoleacaque, Veracruz, which means “in the Cojolites’ hill”. The Cojolite is a sacred bird associated with the rising sun and the dawn god of the ancient residents from Veracruz’ south. The southern region was a settlement of the ancient ‘Olmecas’, it has been inhabited historically by different social groups like: ‘Popolucas’, ‘Nahuas’, ‘Zapotecos’ and others.

7. Colores Santos

A rock band that emerged from Guadalajara and integrated by Moya, Pizzarro, Alex and Koko. Their last album released this year, is full of instrumental miscegenation sounds, rimes and poetry painted by regional music between rock and psychedelia. These last months, they did a national tour around Mexico, which gave them a huge visibility at the Latin American rock scene.

8. Self Sabotage

A duet born in Mexico City in 2016. Their members do of this music group a magical experience combined with Carla Valverde and Jordi Zindel’s voices, who play with different rhythms like Jazz, Rock and Techno. Besides, their mix of languages in the lyrics of the music, makes an enriching proposal. In the single of the album “Agua”, you’ll find a relaxing song, hybrid of bossa nova and acoustic pop, decorated by colorful vocal arrangements, brilliant guitars, a rich mixture of rattles, clef and random bongos.

9. Los Rastrillos

Arises in Mexico City in 1989, born as a Jamaican genre, fruit of the conjunction of diverse rhythms. Rastrillo’s current music reflects the passing of time since their beginnings, their music style is characterized by the multiple fusions with the Mexican music (prehispanic, ‘son jarocho’) and the use of typical instruments for its interpretation. Besides, in their lyrics they touch critic social and political subjects from Mexico.

10. Sonex

This musical band is inspired by the ‘son jarocho’ from Veracruz. They use the jarana jarocha as one of the crucial instruments for their melodies compositions. The project Sonex arises in 2005 to exalt the music tradition of the Sotavento and its great masters. In their notes include rhythms influenced by genres like the traditional African music, Afro-Peruvian music and Venezuelan music. Sonex release their first album in 2007 and in 2010 won the first place in “Tu Música También Cuenta” contest, festival organized by National Geographic Channel and Myspace, in commemoration of Earth’s Day.

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