¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo todos!
Cinco de Mayo is traditionally a celebration of Mexico's victory over French forces in the 1862 Battle of Puebla. But today, it's more of a celebration of Mexican heritage, as well as an excuse to drink all the Corona, tequila and margaritas you want.
To do this thing right, we picked nine Mexican artists that will add just the right flavor to your Cinco de Mayo fiesta. From the dancefloor anthems of Belinda and 3BallMTY to the traditional Mexican banda sound of La Arrolladora Banda El Limon and Julión Alvarez y Su Norteño Banda...all this music is magnifico.
Rising singer Sofia Reyes embodies the future of Latin pop with her genre-crossing, bilingual creations. The 19-year-old is an uber-promising young talent and was the first artist signed to a label headed by Prince Royce, the young bachata supersrar with three No. 1 albums on Billboard's Latin Albums chart and four No. 1s on the Hot Latin Songs. The girl got a major co-sign by having Wisin (the J.Lo and 50 Cent collaborator of Wisin y Yandel) feature on her debut single "Muevelo."
Check out more from the rising Mexican pop princess below with:
- "Conmigo (Rest of Your Life)," the follow-up to "Muevelo" that shows she can own a blazing song all her own.
- If you liked "Muevelo," you'll dig its official remix featuring Latin producer Maffio.
- She shows off her piano kills in this raw cover of Birdy's "Skinny Love."
- Her vulnerable cover of Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" is a must-hear (below).
Famous for their blazing beats, 3BallMTY are like Mexico's answer to Diplo or Avicii. Twenty-year-old Erick Rincon and 21-year-olds DJ Otto and Sheeqo Beat make up the quickly-rising DJ trio 3BallMTY—pronounced "tree-ball Monterrey." Since releasing their debut album in late 2011, they've won the 2012 Latin Grammy Award for Best New Artist, scored a No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Latin Songs chart with "Intentalo" (below) and played Coachella. Their sophomore album Global dropped earlier this year and features Far East Movement, Belinda and teenage rapper Becky G on single "Quiero Bailar (All Through the Night)" (above).
Don't sleep on this trio! Check out these bangers as well:
- Dance track "Besos Al Aire."
- Global album track "Rock the Movement" featuring "Bass Down Low" rappers Far East Movement.
- 2013 single "Vive Hoy" that sounds like an Afrojack took a trip to Mexico.
- "Ritmo Alterado" that has some Daft Punk-like vocoder effects paired with major beat drops.
- Percussion-heavy, tango-dance track "Desesperada" with fellow Mexican pop superstar Belinda.
- Their remix of the AutoTune heavy club banger "Me Gustas Tanto" for Latin pop diva Paulina Rubio for the US edition of 2012 album Bravisima!.
So, what acts from the '60s can rack up millions upon millions of views on YouTube? Easy answer: Not many. But traditional Mexican banda La Arrolladora Banda El Limon have been making music for nearly 50 years and have a huge online presence. Their biggest YouTube hit came from last summer's "El Ruido de Tus Zapatos" is nearing 100 million views (above) while "Llamada de Mi Ex" (below) is close to 50 million since January 2012.
Make your Cinco de Mayo a little more traditional—musically, at least—with some more viral hits below:
- "Nina de Mi Corazon" is their sole No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Latin Songs chart.
- Love a good tuba in your earphones? You'll dig "Ya es Muy Tarde."
- The banda's latest single, the somber "Mi Segunda Vida," is currently racing up the Hot Latin Songs chart.
- Watch the fervor over these guys live with this performance of the peppy "Cabecita Dura" live at the 2013 Billboard Latin Music Awards.
Twenty-five-year-old Belinda is like the Britney Spears of Mexican pop music. She started in TV at 10 (in drama ¡Amigos X Siempre!) and released her self-titled debut album at 15. And, like Brit, she's one of the sexiest pop stars on the globe. Case in point: the cleavage-heavy music video for "En la Obscuridad" (below) broke a Latin record on Vevo when it gained over three million views in 48 hours. Plus, she's gotten a co-sign from Pitbull and featured on her electro-pop club banger "I Love You... Te Quiero" (above).
Check out other tracks from the Mexican pop princess below:
Acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela are perhaps one of Mexico's most renowned outfits. They met playing in a heavy metal band, but when a record label contract fell through the duo travelled to Ireland after hearing about the nation's fair treatment of travelling musicians. They gained a cult following so huge that their self-titled debut album, featuring "Diablo Rojo" (below), debuted to No. 1 in Ireland. Their skills incorporate lightning-fast finger movements, which actually forced Gabriela Quintero to go on hiatus from injuries in 2010. But not before performances on The Tonight Show, Late Show and at the, um, White House!
Now, together and in full health, the group have four LPs, plenty of soundtrack contributions and, just in time for 2014 Cinco de Mayo, their fourth album 9 Dead Alive. Each of the nine songs on the LP are dedicated to inspiring individuals like Harriet Tubman and Viktor Frankl. The new release is led by new single "The Soundmaker," dedicated to Spanish guitarist Antonio Torres Juares with the music video explaingin what made him so special. Watch above.
Check 'em out below:
- They scored the soundtrack to Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides with German film composer Hans Zimmer (The Lion King, The Dark Knight). Hear "Angelica."
- Their cover of The Nightmare Before Christmas song "Oogie Boogie's Song" for a tribute album to the Tim Burton film's soundtrack.
- Watch them nail this TV performance of "Buster Voodoo" on The Late Late Show.
- They add a traditional Mexican twist to Led Zeppelin classic "Stairway to Heaven."
You saw her judging on The X Factor, but in case you were too focused on her crazy critiques, let us tell you that a Paulina Rubio banger can kickstart any fiesta—just listen to "Baila Casanova. With a career that's spanned more than 20 years, the Mexico City native has snagged hits on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart in '90s, '00s and '10s, most recently hitting No. 1 with 2011 single "Me Gustas Tanto" (below) with new single "Mi Nuevo Vicio" previewing her upcoming album.
Check out more from the Mexican diva below:
- "Baila Casanova" is fiesta-ready and will kickstart any party.
- Her 2002 dance single "Si Tú Te Vas" that was also her debut English single ("Don't Say Goodbye") a Billboard Hot 100 hit giving Rubio her major crossover moment
- The RedOne-produced "Boys Will Be Boys" that she performed on X Factor.
- Her early-2000 single "Sexi Dance" that makes us want to perform one.
- She proved her versatility with the pop-rock bop of "Causo y Efecto."
- While she's singing about drinking to forget a bad lover, you could certainly make the horn-heavy "Dame Otro Tequila" your Cinco de Mayo anthem this year.
I Can Chase Dragons! is a relatively new but awesome artist we imagine all the hipsters in Mexico—aka los mipsters—dig him. The dreamy Latin pop is the creation of Mexican indie musician Julio Gudino, lead singer of Mexican indie rockers The Plastics Revolution. He combines Spanish pop melodies with fuzzy, lo-fi production. Last year, Gudino has played U.S. music showcases like CMJ and SXSW in 2013 and looks to return stateside soon.
Check out what he's already offered since his debut:
- Watch his amazing live performance of "Escoge Tu Animal" (above).
- "Palíndromos," that was featured on a Club de Discos—a digital music platform supporting Mexico's indie music scene. (Download it for free!)
- His contribution to Basserk Records' underground artist compilation Some Tunes 5 "Cuantas Caras."
- "Ceder y Crecer," a schizophrenic jam that jumps from tribal drumming to chant-like singsongs, to a rock guitar breakdown before finishing with feel-good clapping section.
- The whistle-heavy "Diving for Sunken Treasure."
Singer-songwriter Natalia Lafourcade has lived many different artistic lives since arriving with her 2002 self-titled debut. In 2005, she recruited a backing band to create Natalia y La Forquetina and record her alternative sophomore album Casa. A year later, Lafourcade left the group to record an entirely instrumental EP Las 4 Estaciones Del Amor. She's now a solo pop-rock artist and most recently dropped the single "Nunca es Suficiente" that features an addictive, walking bassline (above).
Sample her many musical styles below:
- The acoustic-leaning indie pop number "En el 2000."
- Catchy, quirky piano- and tuba-led "Ella es Bonita."
- The rock-pop title track to Natalia y La Forquetina's only album Casa.
- "Invierno," an instrumental that moves from calm accordions to a dramatic string orchestra section.
- Acoustic-leaning duet "Aventurera" with Dominican rock-pop singer Alex Ferreira. (Below, watch the awesome music video below and look out for the dancing nuns.)
- Her lovely duet "Limosna" with male vocalist Meme.
Mexico's youth have ensured regional Mexican music will stay in fashion by giving a ton of love to Julión Alvarez and his band. Currently, Julión Alvarez y Su Norteño Banda is the most-listened to artists on Spotify Mexico for the year beating out trend-driven acts or younger newcomers. In case their YouTube views weren't making it clear enough (the band has more than half a million watches on their official Vevo account), frontman Alvarez was a judge on the Mexican version of The Voice (La Voz... Mexico) making him a bit of an Adam Levine–type star, if you will.
Get your regional Mexican education kickstarted with the following songs:
- Current single "El Amor de Su Vida" (above) is rising up the charts, currently at No. 11 on Billboard's Hot Latin Songs chart and looks poised to be the band's biggest chart hit to date.
- The band's most watched video "Te Hubieras Ido Antes" (below) has more than 150 million views.
- Alvarez's duet with La Voz... Mexico Season 4 champion Guido Rochin is both dreamy and gorgeous.
- The band's most-listened to song on Spotify is the buzzy "Y Asi Fue" with more than 20 million streams.