Mexican music!
December 1, 2009 6:14 AM   Subscribe

Can you recommend music for my Mexican restaurant?

I run a burrito restaurant and I'm looking for some music to play in the restaurant.

I used to live in Venezuela and Mexico around 12-15 years ago and unfortunately my taste in Mexican / Latin American music is just based on the bands that were popular at the time (Maná, Molotov, etc). I'd like to update this a bit.

So, do you have any recommendations for good Mexican / Latin American music? I'm open to anything that will sound good in a restaurant. I'd like to have different areas of music (different music for Friday nights and Monday lunches).

I'm open to any good music from the last 10-15 years. Both traditional pop music, rock, hip-hop (although not too heavy), salsa, bolero, whatever.

My plan is to buy the music on iTunes
posted by einarorn to Media & Arts (23 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I know this is off the topic, but I'm compelled to ask if you're prepared to deal with ASCAP.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:21 AM on December 1, 2009

Cafe Tacuba
posted by lalex at 6:25 AM on December 1, 2009

...and if not ASCAP, then BMI.
posted by jquinby at 6:27 AM on December 1, 2009

Los Cojolites, from Veracruz, play original music that's pretty faithful to the son jarocho tradition. Their album "No tiene fin" is on iTunes.
posted by dr. boludo at 6:30 AM on December 1, 2009

There seems to be a lot of Royalty Free Mexican Music out there - here's just one possibility.
posted by watercarrier at 6:36 AM on December 1, 2009

posted by contessa at 6:40 AM on December 1, 2009

Mexican Institute of Sound, in particular Méjico Máxico.
posted by balls at 6:42 AM on December 1, 2009

Go old school -- Chavela Vargas; Vicente Fernandez; Paquita la del Barrio.

Or go new school, like with the "anarcumbia" of Amanditita or the amazing new/old cumbia of Celso Piña.
posted by Forktine at 6:43 AM on December 1, 2009

Trio Los Panchos
posted by bunny hugger at 6:44 AM on December 1, 2009

Los Cenzontles. It's a Mexican-American collective and they are incredible! Love them!
posted by FergieBelle at 6:44 AM on December 1, 2009

The Nortec Collective and its members solo projects: Bostich, Fussible, Hiperboreal, Clorofila, Plankton Man, Panoptica.
posted by umbú at 6:49 AM on December 1, 2009 [2 favorites]

Also El Gran Silencio, and Kinky.

Grupo Fantasma is from Laredo and Austin, Texas, but they are a great band that may fit what you're looking for.
posted by umbú at 6:56 AM on December 1, 2009 [2 favorites]

I work a few hours a week at a Mexican restaurant. Here are the things I've played that people have commented positively on:

Yma Sumac! (RIP) Her Mambo! album never fails to cheer me up.

Shango, Shouter, and Obeah: Supernatural Calypso from Trinidad

Kronos Quartet: Nuevo is very atmospheric. Could be a little intense though.

Mostly now we listen to Sirius radio, and I've found that their Soultown and The Joint (Reggae) stations elicit the most obvious happiness from our customers.
posted by hermitosis at 6:57 AM on December 1, 2009

Rodrigo y Gabriela!
posted by oinopaponton at 7:07 AM on December 1, 2009

I first heard Bebo & Cigala's Lagrimas Negras at a cafe in Puno, Peru, and loved it.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:15 AM on December 1, 2009

I'll recommend some of my faves, Gypsy Kings and Buena Vista Social Club. Also, throw in some Calexico and maybe even a little Devotchka. All have a distinct latin flair.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 7:16 AM on December 1, 2009

Seconding Kinky and Mexican Institute of Sound. For something a little more classic sounding, I recommend Carlos Vives, Chichi Peralta, Elvis Crespo. For pop, Shakira and Paulina Rubio. Orishas make a nice blend of hip-hop and salsa. Bajofondo is a modern tango group. And you could go old school with Celia Cruz. I have a soft spot in my heart for rancheras- Vincente Fernandez, Pepe Aguilar, and Los Tigres del Norte. As for a couple of European artists who sing in Spanish, I recommend Manu Chao and Jarabe de Palo.
(caveat: my tastes are also fairly dated)
posted by emd3737 at 7:17 AM on December 1, 2009

This is a little off the beaten path, but I'm kind of high on this semi-local artist's band, The David Wax Museum. David Wax lived in Mexico for a while and became enamored of Mexican traditional folk songs. He now writes contemporary, indie-ish lyrics in English to these traditional progressions and forms. I find the combination incredibly fresh and inventive. Hope you like them.
posted by Miko at 7:20 AM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

Francesca Ancarola from Chile.
posted by spasm at 7:31 AM on December 1, 2009

I'm not sure of the cost in relation to ASCAP/BMI licensing, but the venerable Muzak has a variety of latin programming options. And, well, yes, it's Muzak.
posted by AzraelBrown at 8:33 AM on December 1, 2009

2nding Calexico. I would also consider Los Tigres del Norte.
posted by horsemuth at 8:56 AM on December 1, 2009

Thanks for all the recommendations. For what it's worth I'm in Sweden, so I have to deal with the local version of ASCAP.

It's going to take me a while to go through all this, but thanks. And keep the recommendations coming.
posted by einarorn at 11:49 AM on December 1, 2009

For edgier, more hip-hop stuff, I'd go with reggaeton and reggaeton-ish bands. One such: the Orishas. (Forgive the guy with the Coolio haircut.)
posted by the NATURAL at 2:02 PM on December 1, 2009

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