Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month

Posted by on October 11, 2023

Happy National Hispanic Heritage Month! 

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

We’re celebrating by sharing some of our favorite tracks by musicians of Hispanic Heritage. Enjoy this playlist curated by Yamaha Guitar Group employees! 

“I listened to this song a lot at a time in my life when I’d rediscovered peace and contentment after a few difficult years. It reminds me of my own strength and the beauty of life.” – Michelle Johnson.

“Every Mexican in the USA and in MEX knows that song. It is an emblematic song for Mexico.” – Jesus Limon.

“Who doesn’t like liberatory Chicano reggae?!” – John Osmand.

“This was so hard to choose just one song, but I chose ‘Soy Yo’ by Bomba Estéreo because it’s a song that my daughter and I both enjoy together. We often watch the music video and appreciate its strength and humor. It’s important for me to introduce my daughter to music in various languages so she can experience and understand the world’s diversity.” – Angela Heine.

“Rodrigo Y Gabriela’s ‘Mettavolution’ is a truly electric listening experience! Growing up exclusively listening to rock and punk music, discovering Rodrigo y Gabriela’s music which blends rock, metal, and flamenco, opened my eyes to other genres, and led me to further diversify my listening habits.” – Erin MacGregor

“Robert Trujillo, born in Santa Monica, of Mexican and Native American decent holds down the low end in the biggest metal band on the planet and prior to that played a massive role as a musical influence in Suicidal Tendencies and Infectious Grooves He’s one of the pioneers of funk-metal! He’s a monster, oh and not to mention, an Ampeg artist!!!” – Simon Jones.

“Incredible song and a fascinating story with the artist’s life. Watch the ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ Documentary.” – Paul Hindmarsh.

“Nia has been a friend of mine for years, and is an extremely talented (and incredibly kind!) person. Her music centers around the mixture of her Los Angeles upbringing and her Mexican roots.” – Brandon Soriano.

“Soy famoso en la casa de Aguirre por hacer gucamole. En el proceso de Creación de mi obra maestra escucho Sauvemente para canalizar mis raí­ces mexicanas internas. Esta canción me trae muchos recuerdos de cómo crear este plato con familiares y amigos.” – Tyler Aguirre.

“The significance of this song is wanting everyone to have fun and encourages people to be free, and be themselves.” – Iris Luelle Alcantara Gantuangco.

“I’m a sucker for lap steel and pedal steel guitars into massive reverbs. One brother on lap steel and the other with big fat hollowbody combine to make beautiful melodies that are the soundtrack for a Mexican film you’ve not necessarily seen. At the very least you’ll visit the southwest of the US, without leaving your headphones.” – TJ Martin

“No significance other than being really good music. I was watching Austin City Limits one day and heard these amazing percussion arrangements and how all of the percussion layers worked together around Reuben and the montuno / tumbao bass line! Bought the CD the next day. I thought the lyrics were nice too.” – Nick Shilling

“Calle 13 is a Latin rap performer who is very well known throughout the world. While there are many other songs I could have chosen, this song identifies with most people I know whether they like rap or not.” – Andrew Hydle.

“A phenomenal Spanish guitarist with a real mastery of the Chet Atkins vibe when he brandishes his Gibson ES-295. More or less a random song choice given that his entire catalogue is fantastic, especially his more nylon-flavored and stripped-down tracks.” – Brock Rode.

“The first time I heard Mon Laferte I completely fell in love with her voice. She’s the best singer alive today, and this song is just so beautiful!” – Patrick Windsor.

Silvio Rodriguez is a hugely prolific Cuban poet and singer-songwriter known for his pro-revolution protest songs. He got banned from the media through several dictatorial regimes in Latin America in the 70s and 80s, and was even denied entry to the U.S. on several occasions. Ojalá is one of his most popular songs.” – Shannon McKee.

“I thought it was one of those songs that brought people from all over the world together, even if they didn’t understand the lyrics. The message of the song was universal and everyone could relate to it.” – Daniella Chamorro.

An all-star Cuban band led by bassist Orlando “Cachaíto” López, featuring guitarist Manuel Galbá playing in decidedly non-traditional ways, with cool dub-style tape echo among other things.” – Barry Cleaveland.

“Selena!! Selena was an American “Tejano” singer and referred to as the “Queen of Tejano” Music. I was introduced to Selena during my Freshman year of high school. I remember getting ready for school while listening to Hole (yes, I was a Hole fan. Don’t judge!), and I could hear load Spanish music blasting in the kitchen. Being the angry and obnoxious teenager, I stormed in the kitchen and demanded my mom to “turn that crap off”! However, the Latina in me could not withhold the urge to dance! That day, Selena became a staple in my life and one of my most loved artists. I still listen to her music every weekend while I detail clean my kitchen. No matter what mood I’m in, her music lifts my spirit. I dare you to play “Como La Flor” without fighting the urge to dance! I’m linking her final Live performance of “Como La Flor” where she wore her iconic purple jumpsuit. Her life was sadly taken from her a month later. Selena Por Vida!!” – Betty Dolan.

Although Linda Ronstadt is mainly known in the US for her chart topping hit “You’re No Good”, many are still unaware that she is not only a proud latina but also released many albums of music celebrating her Mexican heritage. Los Laureles is a very old song and mariachi standard which highlights the incredible range and talent of a wonderful artist whom many consider to be solely American.” – Arthur Gagnier.

“Hard to believe that Believe by Ozo is almost 20 years old! The song came out at the height of the Iraq War, a driving counterpoint to division of the world into “us” versus “them”.” – John Osmand.

“This was released the first year my eldest son went to sailing summer camp. It was then played on repeat on his return for what felt like forever. In theory, we should hate it; in reality, it reminds us of a time when he found his confidence to start growing into the young human he wanted to be.” – Michelle Johnson.

“From the album Mambo Sinuendo by legendary Cuban guitarist Manuel Galbán and Ry Cooder. One of the finest guitar albums ever recorded, it reached number one on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart in 2003. This is the opening track.” – Barry Cleveland.

Ozomatli’s debut album “Ozomatli” came out when I was 24 years old. Their numerous significant albums, vibrant live performances, and tireless activism have had a great influence on my early years of adulthood to today.” – Angela Heine.

“My queen, Shakira! Shakira was the first Spanish Rock Artist I embraced in the mid-90s. Her album “Piez Descalzos” is one of my favorite albums and brings back great memories (released in 1995). Shakira recently released BZrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53 with DJ Bizarrap, which has become a women’s empowerment anthem! The song reportedly “brock the internet” and other records this year. If you get a chance, watch her Jimmy Fallon interview and performance that aired earlier this year (around March?) So good!! “Las mujeres ya no lloran, las mujeres facturan”!!! Shakira” – Betty Dolan.

We’d love to hear your selections too, share them in the comments.