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Latin Alternative Songs for Beginners

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Latin Alternative music is one of the most interesting genres in Latin music today. Originally, this kind of music evolved from the Latin Rock movement that took off in the 1980s. Nowadays, however, this genre is encompassing new sounds borrowing influences from things like Latin Urban music and Electronica. The following playlist features a mix of classic and contemporary hits that will allow you to get a better feeling for this exciting music style.

"El Estuche" - Aterciopelados

Photo Courtesy Ariola
Photo Courtesy Ariola

From the hit album Caribe Atomico, "El Estuche" is one of the most popular songs ever produced by the Colombian band Aterciopelados. This single is one of the tracks responsible for injecting the music of the band with a more defined Alternative flavor. The arrangements on this song are great.

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"Desclasificado" - Ana Tijoux

Photo Courtesy Nacional Records
Photo Courtesy Nacional Records

This track is one of the many Latin Urban songs that have made it to the Latin Alternative genre. Very often, this has ocurred because of the social dimension that different Latin Urban artists have incorporated into their music. Ana Tijoux's hit album La Bala fits that idea. Besides its pleasant sound, "Desclasificado" offers powerful lyrics that question our society.

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"Mean Old Circus" - Gaby Moreno

Photo Courtesy Paisley Records
Photo Courtesy Paisley Records

"Mean Old Circus" is one of the songs included in Gaby Moreno's work Illustrated Songs, one of the best Latin music albums of 2011. This eclectic song encompasses the vintage African American sounds that the Guatemalan artist incorporated into this production. A wonderful song from beginning to end.

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"Retrovisor" - Ceu

Photo Courtesy Six Degrees
Photo Courtesy Six Degrees

Latin Alternative music not only comes in Spanish and English packages. There are several Portuguese speaking artists who are producing amazing stuff in this genre. Caravana Sereia Bloom, the latest album released by Brazilian singer Ceu is one of the funkiest albums that hit the market in 2012. "Retrovisor" is a good sample of modern Brazilian Alternative music.

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"Pide Piso" - Bajofondo

Photo Courtesy Masterworks
Photo Courtesy Masterworks

Thanks to its rich, eclectic fusion, this is one of the most 'alternative' tracks on this list. From Bajofondo's 2013 album Presente, this track combines everything from Electronica and Rock to Tango and Classical music. "Pide Piso" is one of the most defining singles of this 21-track album.

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"Fuego" - Bomba Estereo

Photo Courtesy Nacional Records
Photo Courtesy Nacional Records

Bomba Estereo is a Colombian band that offers a very eclectic sound defined by a combination of Electronica, Cumbia and Rap. Thanks to songs like "Fuego," Bomba Estereo has become one of the hottest names in the Latin Alternative field.

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"2° Dia" - Helado Negro

Photo Courtesy Asthmatic Kitty
Photo Courtesy Asthmatic Kitty

This Ecuadorian-American singer is one of the most experimental artists in the Latin Alternative field. His music is almost mystical and you can clearly feel that from the relaxing vibes of "2° Dia." If you are looking for something really funky, this is a track for you.

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"Tunupa" - Kalimutsa

Photo courtesy Shock Music Latin
Photo courtesy Shock Music Latin

"Tunupa," the hit track from Kali Mutsa's EP Ambrolina, is a very fun track to listen to. With its eclectic combination of Gypsy music, Andean beats and Bollywood singing, this is the kind of song that defies immagination. As far as I am concerned, it does not get any more Alternative than this.

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"Clandestino" - Manu Chao

Photo Courtesy Nacional Records
Photo Courtesy Nacional Records

Manu Chao can be easily considered one of the pioneers of the whole Latin Alternative music boom. His songs, which are heavily influenced by Reggae and Rock, are charged with meaningful lyrics that touch some of today's most important social and political issues. "Cladestino" has become a flag to fight against the discrimination suffered by illegal aliens in developed countries.

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"De Musica Ligera" - Soda Stereo

Photo Courtesy Ariola
Photo Courtesy Ariola

Soda Stereo is the most influential band in the history of Rock en Espanol. Although this track probably fits better a playlist of Latin Rock hits, "De Musica Ligera" provides a very Alternative sound that makes you think of some of the stuff that transformed Nirvana into the absolute Alternative band that changed music in the 1990s. A wonderful song from beginning to end.

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"Latinoamerica" - Calle 13

Photo Courtesy Sony U.S. Latin
Photo Courtesy Sony U.S. Latin

I would not be surprised if someday history tell us this was the song that changed Latin Alternative music forever. "Latinoamerica" is a powerful song that brings together Latin Urban and Latin Alternative music into a new social dimension. This song, which is included in the hit album Entren Los Que Quieran, took the music of Calle 13 to new levels of excellence.

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