Once a week or so I’d like to post some YouTube videos of Latin music. I hear a lot of Latin music around town, of course, and along with what’s playlisted on my iPod, I also spend a lot of time online researching and reporting about what’s new and popular on the Latin music scene. It’s my job as well as a passion.
While I’m at it, I thought it would be fun to share some videos here each week — videos of songs that are catching my ear, videos I’d love to share. Plus, I’ll link the artists and albums to Allmusic.com, so you can see some of my reporting.
One of the most anticipated Latin albums of the year is Los de Atras Vienen Conmigo, the upcoming third album by Calle 13, a critically acclaimed Puerto Rican duo whose music defies easy categorization. They’re not a reggaetón act, nor are they simply a rap group — “Latin alternative” would be a more accurate description, if open-ended.
This video is for “No Hay Nadie Como Tú,” the brand-new lead single from their upcoming album. The song is a collaboration with Mexican alternative rock icons Café Tacuba. See if you can follow the lyrics, which fly fast but are smart and witty.
Another of the biggest musical acts in the Spanish-speaking world these past few years is RBD, a teen pop group whose popularity is unparalleled in the English-language world. The closes comparison I can think of is New Kids on the Block during their prime. Make no mistake, it’s more than music; it’s a multimedia celebrity extravaganza that spans the Americas, from the United States and Mexico all the way down to Brazil and Argentina.
RBD began as a Mexican telanovela (i.e., Latin-style soap opera) about rebellious teenagers at a private school who start their own band. The television show ran for a few seasons, became a sensation among teens and pre-teens, and before long, all kinds of RBD-brand product — CDs, DVDs, concert tours, you name it — was flooding the Latin market. No, the six teens comprising the group aren’t particularly talented singers; however, they’ve proven themselves mighty entertaining and appealing.
I’m not ashamed to admit I like their music as well as their act. I find it fascinating from a cultural marketing standpoint. I wonder, what is it about RBD that is so universally appealing to Latin teens, and how does it differ from American teen pop, particularly in terms of social norms and values?
This video is for the title track from their latest album, Empezar Desde Cero, which topped the charts in 17 different countries — and not only the Latin markets (e.g., Guatemala, Ecuador, Argentina) but also some unlikely places across the Atlantic (Slovenia, Romania, Serbia).
OK, one more — this one isn’t new, but it’s been getting a lot of play on my iPod the past couple days. The song is called “Bendita Tu Luz,” from the album Amar Es Combatir, and it’s by my Spanish teacher’s favorite Latin music act, Maná, a popular rock band from Mexico that fills stadiums throughout Latin America. This isn’t a rock song, however. It’s a bachata that features Dominican singer/songwriter Juan Luis Guerra on vocals. I think it’s a beautiful song, and it’s been in my head for days now — was singing it to myself in my head on the walk over here to the Internet lounge, in fact.