Help me find some good contemporary Spanish music to learn by?
September 17, 2009 2:20 AM   Subscribe

Modern Spanish-language music to help a complete newbie? ... but I have some specific preferences based on what I like in French!

I have embarked on a goal to learn Spanish for work. I do field work in different regions around the world, and a priority region is Latin America. After attending a meeting of this group at a recent conference that was conducted entirely in Spanish (with translation in parts only for me) I've decided I want and need to learn Spanish to communicate better. I don't expect to become fluent, but I do want to be able to listen to to conference papers, discussions and participate in conversations.

As I have a lot of irregular travel for work, I can't attend scheduled classes, so I am learning from Rosetta Stone, Michel Thomas, reading papers in my field in the language etc. I have some background in Italian and a little French.

Complication is that my preference is for learning a Latin American accent (Mexican?) rather than one from Spain (I am currently in the UK so a lot of the materials I am finding are geared towards Castilian Spanish).

I have checked previous AskMe's, and what I am looking for is music recommendations. In learning French, I listen to a lot of Michel Polnareff, Keren Ann, Benjamin Biolay, Jacques Dutronc. I'd love some similar recommendations for Spanish language music, poppy stuff where the words are relatively clear (or I can read along with a lyric sheet).

I remember learning Italian at university way back when and in lab we listened to terrible music, awful cliched stuff and I want to avoid that. I want good contemporary music!

Music and any other general media/learning recommendations greatly appreciated!
posted by wingless_angel to Writing & Language (8 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The Pimsleur courses offer a Latin American Spanish course, and they are quite good. Chances are you can find them at your local library, too.

LomasTV is really fun. It's a subscription site but well worth it. It has hundreds of videos, many of them music videos, from all parts of the Spanish-speaking world. Underneath the videos are a running transliteration and a running translation, and you can slow them down.
posted by bricoleur at 3:55 AM on September 17, 2009

Best answer: I don't know who those French artists are, but I'll make some recommendations of Latin American and Spanish artists whose accents are pretty straightforward:

Juana Molina
- slow, elegant, kind of computery music. She's from Argentina, records in LA and you can't hear her Argentine accent; she articulates well.

Violeta Parra - folk nueva canción style from 1960s Chile. Beautiful songs and usually just her and an acoustic guitar.

Pedro Guerra - kind of folky, from the Canary Islands and doesn´t have a castillian accent.

Manu Chao - catchy, poppy and sings in English, French, and Spanish. Good for vocab.

Los Planetas - fun, messy indie rock group from Spain but their accents aren´t too strong.

More later...
posted by cachondeo45 at 4:28 AM on September 17, 2009

Best answer: Seconding Manu Chao (but it's trippy when the song jumps into French, Portuguese or Arabic!).
If you don't mind a bit of an Argentine accent, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs still rock, and they have some punk covers that you'll already probably know the English lyrics to, which is nice (also, while it's mostly in English, their cover of Strawberry Fields has Deborah frakkin' Harry sharing the vocals and is just about my favorite cover ever)..
I blush slightly to admit it, but I'm smitten with the alterna-pop sound of Julietta Venegas--she's Mexican I think.
posted by Mngo at 6:29 AM on September 17, 2009

Best answer: Mngo, Julietta Venegas is a guilty pleasure of mine, too....

Another recommendation I have is Andrea Echeverri — she's Colombian. Here is my favorite song of hers, Amortiguador.
posted by lovermont at 8:44 AM on September 17, 2009

More Mexican poppy goodness can be found in Natalia Lafourcade and Belanova (though the latter may be just too poppy!)
posted by bunyip at 9:13 AM on September 17, 2009

I recommend Juanes. He's a very popular Colombian musician and his albums have a mix of slower songs to start you off and faster songs for when your Spanish improves. Also, very easy to find lyrics online.
posted by melissasaurus at 9:56 AM on September 17, 2009

Ximena Sariñana is along the same lines as Julieta Venegas and Natalia Lafourcade. Plus, if you learn to say her last name correctly, you'll be halfway there in the pronunciation department.
posted by signal at 7:44 AM on September 18, 2009

From Chile, Francisca Valenzuela and Nicole.
posted by signal at 7:54 AM on September 18, 2009

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