It’s hard to believe that I wrote this on another (now defunct) blog ten years ago now. It still holds up well today though, and later this year (2024) I will complete the list of having seen all the artists in concert when I finally get to see Maná when they come to Granada!
Listening to music in a language other than your own is something that some people enjoy, but others hate. As for me, I really enjoy a wide variety of Spanish language music, and wanting to understand the lyrics has forced me to improve my language skills. Here are what I consider to be five of the tunes which inspired me the most. Who knows, if this blog is successful I might share more of my musical taste!! The youtube videos are available for you to watch below the list of tracks. Let me know what you think.
Maná – Vivir Sin Aire
This song makes me cry. I could listen to it again and again and again. The tune is wonderful and the lyrics are so moving.
“How I wish I could live without air. How I wish I could live without water. I wish I could love you less. I wish I could live without you. But I can not. I feel like I am dying. I feel like I am drowning without your love.” I first heard of Maná when I was living in Bolivia back in 2004 and there are so many of their songs that I love.
Juanes – La Camisa Negra
This song has me jumping around. Again it takes me back to Bolivia when sections of Evo Morales’ MAS (Movimiento al Socialismo) party had it thumping out of their offices. I swear they changed the lyrics to “La Camisa Roja” to suit their political allegiance but I could well be mistaken. It’s hard to imagine a song going along the lines of “I have a black shirt” being particularly successful in English. Within days of arriving in Buenos Aires back in 2005 we were able to see Juanes in concert. It was an amazing experience.
La Oreja de Van Gogh – Rosas
Bolivia once again and this song was playing in almost every cafe or bar I went to at some stage. When I hear this I remember my Spanish teacher, Rosario, who sadly passed away in recent years. Her family were so friendly towards me and helped me to fall in love with Bolivia. When the group came to Buenos Aires we went to see them and they were brilliant. “Van Gogh’s Ear” doesn’t sound the same in English though, does it! And now that Amaya Montero has left, I’m not sure they are as good.
Julieta Vanegas – Me Voy
You can’t beat a latina an accordian! “It’s a shame but I’m off. Do, do, do, do, do, do, do.” Fabulous lyrics, don’t you think! Despite this, I have loved everything I have heard from Julieta and we were lucky enough to see her in concert in Pamplona. Another unforgettable night.
Diego Torres – Color Esperanza
I’m not quite sure when I first heard Diego but I think he is an amazing artist. I got to see him in concert on my last night in Argentina in the city of Salta. His encores went on so long that I had to leave because I had an early morning bus journey! This song is my absolute favourite Spanish song and the first one where I really noticed use of the subjunctive in the lyrics. Students of Spanish take note! “Saber que se puede. Querer que se pueda.” which more or less translates as “To know that you can. To want to be able to.” See the subjunctive in the less certain second line?!! Regardless of everything else the following lines are inspirational:
Wash away your fears and take them away. Paint your face the colour of hope. Tempt the future with your heart.
It was therefore incredible to see Diego Torres and Julieta Vanegas team up to perform together on TV. Hope you have enjoyed these songs and perhaps they will inspire you to listen to more Spanish language music.