Different Types of Latin Music Genres You Need To Know | Audio Network UK UK

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In December of final yr, Billboard reported that Latin music was the fourth most-streamed style within the US on DSPs reminiscent of Spotify – and third for video streaming on YouTube. But when your Latin music go-to is ‘Despacito’ on repeat, then there’s an enormous variety of totally different Latin music genres and types to find.

From vibrant salsa to romantic bachata, reggaeton to Regional Mexican, Brazilian samba and chilled out bossa nova to Argentina’s passionate tango, it’s time to discover the historical past of Latin music – and who’re right now’s most influential stars.

See more: Top latin music genres

For an introduction to the music, dive in with the Latin America playlist.

Latin Music Genres Listing

  • Latin pop
  • Salsa
  • Bachata
  • Tango
  • Trendy Latin Music: Raggaeton
  • Brazilian Music:
    • Samba
    • Bossa Nova
  • Latin Rock & Different Music:
    • Rock en Español
  • Regional Mexican Music:
    • Mariachi
    • Norteño

Latin Music Types

Latin Pop

The Miami Tremendous Bowl halftime live performance this yr featured Colombian celebrity Shakira and Jennifer Lopez sporting a Puerto Rican flag, performing a set filled with English and Spanish hits and deftly illustrating how totally Latin music has taken centre stage around the globe.

Latin pop is continually evolving, and takes in all the things from salsa to rock en Español. And as Rolling Stone notes, ‘a few of the most well-known Latin pop songs have survived navy dictatorships, battle, famine and pure disasters – and so they nonetheless maintain up regardless of passing traits.’

Get an summary of recent Latin Pop with this playlist, or try Andrea Rocha’s album, Mi Barrio for reggaeton-infused latin pop.

latin pop


Salsa is likely one of the finest recognized and hottest Latin music genres worldwide.

The primary salsa bands had been predominantly from Cuba and Puerto Rico – the music then unfold via Colombia and the remainder of the Americas till it turned a world phenomenon.

New York had been a centre of Cuban-style dance music because the Forties, when Cuban artists introduced Afro-Cuban son music into the USA.

Son mixed with traditions from African American jazz to create a Caribbean jazz sound, which was embraced by Salsa artists throughout the Caribbean and the USA, particularly amongst Puerto Ricans in New York.

When Cuban musicians may now not go to New York after Fidel Castro had claimed management in 1959, the town’s Puerto Rican musicians rapidly stuffed the vacuum – taking the Cuban-inspired Latin jazz sound and bringing in their very own sounds, along with mambo and Latin boogaloo, to create a brand new type: salsa.

When a tune began, apparently the bandleader would shout ‘Salsa!’ to get the gang going, therefore the title.

Salsa artists like Willie Colón, Héctor Lavoe, Ruben Blades, Fania All Stars, Marc Antony and Celia Cruz – often called ‘The Queen of Salsa’ – helped to popularise the style internationally.

The up to date salsa sound popping out of Cuba is called timba. It’s a fast-tempo salsa, with a robust Afro-Cuban affect whose songs usually observe a extra conventional rumba construction, with a sluggish begin, then a core salsa rhythm with a call-and-response vocal.



Bachata originated within the Dominican Republic within the Nineteen Sixties, with songs produced by José Manuel Calderón – the primary was ‘Borracho de Amor’ in 1962.

Bachata combined parts from son with the pan-Latin American type bolero and its troubadour singing custom.

It wasn’t actually till the Nineties, nevertheless, that this latin music style turned actually well-liked, because it modified from utilizing nylon stringed Spanish guitars and maracas to electrical metal string and guira utilized by bands reminiscent of Monchy y Alexandra and Aventura.

A typical bachata group has seven devices – the requinto (lead guitar), segunda (rhythm guitar), electrical guitar, guitar, bass guitar, bongos and guira.

A few of right now’s hottest bachata artists embody Romeo Santos (who was beforehand in Aventura), who has collaborated with Drake, Usher and Marc Anthony, Prince Royce and Luis Vargas.


One other style to have emerged from the Dominican Republic is merengue, whose origins may be traced again to the nineteenth century.

With African and Spanish influences, it’s primarily based on a repeating five-beat rhythmic sample referred to as a quintillo. It’s often carried out on a diatonic accordion, a tambura (a two-sided drum) and a güira, a steel scraper – merengue music usually consists of brass, reminiscent of horns and saxophone as properly.

The merengue can be the Dominican Republic’s nationwide dance, carried out in ballroom dance competitions alongside the salsa. It turned well-liked exterior of the Dominican Republic following mass migration of Dominicans to New York Metropolis within the Nineteen Sixties, and has impressed musicians reminiscent of Carlos Santana.

Different well-known merengue artists embody Sergio Vargas, Mala Fe, Elvis Crespo, Milly Quezada and Los Hermanos Rosario.

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Take heed to extra bachata and merengue on the tropical Latin playlist.

tropical latin playlist


Tango has change into one of the celebrated Latin music genres in dance, having advanced through the nineteenth century in Buenos Aires’ immigrant communities.

Tango brings collectively a myriad of different types, together with flamenco, polka, hanabera, and milonga.

It usually options guitar, bandoneon, piano, violin, flute and double bass and is marked out with its sudden adjustments of dynamics and staccato phrases – collectively, in fact, with its often intense and sometimes melancholic temper.

Carlos Gardel, often called ‘the King of Tango’ propelled the style into the mainstream initially of the final century; different celebrated tango artists embody Astor Piazzolla, and Argentine stars on the ‘neo tango’ scene, reminiscent of Tanghetto.

Discover tango tracks on the Latin Assortment playlist, or hearken to Latin Grammy nominee Gustavo Casenave’s dramatic, highly effective ‘A Don Hetore’.


Trendy Latin Music: Reggaeton

Reggaeton has exploded into the mainstream, with artists reminiscent of Unhealthy Bunny and J. Balvin killing it on streaming platforms and ‘Despacito’ turning into probably the most seen YouTube video of all time – and the primary to hit 5 billion views.

Originating with Panamanian El Common (Edgardo A. Franco) within the late Nineteen Seventies, and catching the creativeness of youth in Puerto Rico within the Nineties, reggaeton fuses reggae and Jamaican dancehall with hip hop and Latin music reminiscent of salsa and bomba, along with dembow rhythms, rapping and singing, usually in Spanish.


Reggaeton captured a world viewers in 2004, with the discharge of Daddy Yankee’s album Barrio Fino and breakout single ‘Gasolina’.

Daddy Yankee additionally featured on Luis Fonsi’s ‘Despacito’, which signalled one other reggaeton revolution, and it now seems to be commercially unstoppable (you possibly can even hear its affect in Ed Sheeran’s ‘Form of You’).

Colombia’s Karol G’s collaboration with Nicki Minaj, ‘Tusa’, turned the primary tune by two girls to prime Billboard’s Scorching Latin Songs chart, breaking the considerably all-male stranglehold on reggaeton.

Brazilian Music


Samba originated in Africa because the music of former slaves and African religions, however has change into an icon of Brazilian nationwide id. It developed in Brazil within the early 1900s, in Rio’s favelas.

A samba band consists primarily of percussion devices taking part in syncopated rhythms, along with call-and-response.

The samba band chief makes use of an Apito (a whistle) to sign breaks and calls, with steel drums – Repinique (or the Reps) – main introductions, performed with a wood stick and one hand; Surdo – the massive bass drums which maintain the beat, snare drums, shakers and agogô (double steel cow bells).


Bossa Nova

Bossa Nova actually means ‘new pattern’ or ‘new wave’, and it turned the music of alternative for an rising Brazilian center class. It emerged in a interval of Brazilian democracy between the early Fifties and the mid-60s, because the society left behind its colonial previous and regarded in direction of the remainder of the world.

Bossa nova songs, in distinction with samba songs, deal with private feelings, reminiscent of love, longing and nature. Samba’s themes focus extra on politics and carnival.

Get a rundown on the present Brazilian music scene from rising star Sarah Roston.

bossa nova

Latin Rock & Different Music

Latin various music, or ‘alterlatino’ refers to Latin rock music that mixes genres together with alt rock, lo-fi, chillout, steel, electronica, hip hop, new wave, punk, reggae and ska with conventional Ibero-American sounds.

It’s a style that as Billboard.com says, is ‘pushing boundaries in a number of, surprising instructions, with thrilling outcomes’.

Established alt-female collective LADAMA, whose members hail from Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and the US are on the forefornt of the style.

Robust Latin feminine voices are under-represented in rap, however Mexican Niña Dioz is a reputation to be careful for.

Dioz began rapping on stage at 18 and rapidly gained consideration for her experimental beats and mixture of digital, Caribbean and Latin parts in her music.

Sorts of Spanish Music: Rock en Español

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One of many pioneers of Rock en Español was Ritchie Valens, whose ‘La Bamba’ tailored a Mexican folks tune, fusing it with rock melodies, in 1958.

Within the Nineteen Seventies, the ‘Latin Rock’ style was coined, whereas Argentine artists Charly Garcia and Luis Alberto Spinetta turned two of the important thing members of the Rock en Español motion.

The style was booming within the Nineteen Eighties as Heroes del Silencio from Spain, Los Prisioneros from Chile and Mexico’s Caifanes emerged on the scene.

Right this moment’s stars of Rock en Español embody Shakira, Y La Bamba and Natalia Lafourcade.

rock en espanol

Regional Mexican Music

Regional Mexican music is an umbrella time period overlaying folks genres from mariachi to cumbia, norteño, banda and ranchera.

Discover the Regional Mexican playlist for an introduction to the music.

Mexican Music Genres


Joyful, passionate mariachi music is commonly a characteristic of necessary occasions and celebrations reminiscent of birthdays, baptisms and weddings.

Its stringed devices and oldest rhythms date again to Mexico’s colonial historical past (1519-1810), with mariachi rising from the small cities of western Mexico within the 1850s.

Radio stations and film studios took mariachi to new audiences from the Nineteen Thirties onwards, and now main annual mariachi festivals, such because the Worldwide Mariachi Pageant of Guadalajara, staged each September, characteristic native and internationally famend teams.

A mariachi band can include as many as eight violins, two trumpets and at the very least one guitar – the normal guitar is the vihuela, a high-pitched, round-backed guitar that gives the rhythm and the guitarrón, a bass guitar. All the band’s gamers take turns singing lead and doing backup vocals and put on extremely embroidered charro outfits.



Norteño is known as for its birthplace in northern Mexico, and has a rural and conventional sensibility. It’s often performed by an ensemble that includes an accordion, bajo sexto (a baritone-range twelve-string guitar), bass, drums and vocalists.

Its roots date again to the late 1800s when the Mexican inhabitants was launched to quite a lot of European folks dances reminiscent of polkas, waltzes, mazurkas and redovas by German and Czech immigrants.

The style exploded in reputation within the Fifties and by the Nineteen Seventies, it was the most well-liked type of music amongst the working lessons in Texas and northern Mexico.

Los Tucanes de Tijuana turned the primary norteño act at Coachella and suppose that, ‘with entice and reggaeton, the doorways are opening for extra types throughout the style of Latin music’. Take heed to Los Bravos del Norte and Los Tigres del Norte for a deeper dive into norteño.


Los Tigres additionally carry out the corrido – a story, poetic ballad illustrating socio-political tensions or historic occasions that relate to the immigrant or working class expertise.

Cumbia is one other vastly well-liked type of regional Mexican music which originated in Colombia, whose reputation has unfold all through Latin America, from Argentina to Chile, Peru and Venezuela.

Much like salsa, it additionally options guitars, accordions, bass guitar and percussion.

Colombian singer Luis Carlos Meyer Castandet emigrated to Mexico within the Forties – his album La Cumbia Cienaguera is taken into account to be the primary cumbia file exterior Colombia.

Considered one of right now’s largest cumbia bands is Los Ángeles Azules, whose collaboration with Ximena Sarinana, ‘Mis Sentimientos’ turned regional Mexican music’s most-watched video of all time and secured them a spot in YouTube’s elite Billion View Membership.

Streaming has additionally made superstars of regional Mexican music artists reminiscent of Banda MS, whereas the worldwide attain of a Netflix sequence like Narcos has given Mexican music one other increase via its soundtrack.

The significance of incorporating conventional parts into up to date tracks is defined by Chilean singer Mon Laferte, who’s now primarily based in Mexico Metropolis.

She informed Rolling Stone that, ‘I’m not a purist, and I don’t make conventional Mexican music, nor conventional salsa, However I attempt to take cues from it and produce it into the current, ’ as she desires to mirror the richness of the music.

Latin artists present no indicators of slowing down, so whether or not you’re into reggaeton or Latin entice, boyband CNCO, acts reminiscent of Fuerza Regida bringing their experiences to conventional genres, or Puerto Rican rapper Unhealthy Bunny collaborating with Cardi B and Balvin, you’re spoiled for alternative.

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