Happy Cinco De Mayo! Today we celebrate the Mexican army’s unlikely victory against French occupation with lots of partying, but it’s also a good time to honor some of the talented Mexican (or partly Mexican) artists and musicians that were given the freedom to create their profound works many years after they were given freedom from the French.
Accordingly, we’ve made a list of some of the Top Ten Musicians of Mexican Descent that includes artists like[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”] Sheila E[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Selena[/lastfm], and [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Carlos Santana[/lastfm].
10. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Selena[/lastfm]
Mexican-American singer-songwriter, Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, or simply Selena was called the Mexican version of [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Madonna[/lastfm].
Selena was just beginning to see the full fruition of her successful pop career when she was tragically murdered at the age of 23 by the president of her fan club. After her death, Selena was fully immortalized by Jennifer Lopez’s beautiful portrayal of her in the 1997 biographical drama film about her life, Selena.
“Dreaming of You”
9. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Cafe Tacvba[/lastfm]
Heralding from Mexico City, Mexico in 1989, Cafe Tacuba is one of the grandfather bands of the Rock En Espanol movement with some of their biggest musical influences being ’80s alternative and new wave rock bands like [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Clash[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Smiths[/lastfm], and [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Cure[/lastfm].
Cafe Tacuba’s eclectic combination of different musical styles has helped them to make six studio albums, win a Grammy award in 2004 for Best Latin/Alternative Album, and make the sound of Mexico’s indigenous folk music mainstream.
8. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Paulina Rubio[/lastfm]
Mexican singer and actress, Paulina Rubio, became an international star with the success of her fifth album in 2000, Paulina. Billboard Magazine listed the vocalist as 7th most successful Latin Pop Artist of the decade, evidenced by her ten solo studio albums, her generous filmography, her modeling career, her philanthropic work, her MAC lipstick shade, and her perfume.
“Ni Una Sola Palabra”
7. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Julieta Venegas[/lastfm]
Born in Tijuana, Mexico, Julieta Venegas is an extremely talented singer-songerwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Renowned for her edgy female-centric folk sound, Venegas has won five Latin Grammys, one Grammy, and put out six studio albums, selling more than 8 million albums internationally.
“Bien O Mal”
6. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Joe Escalante[/lastfm] (from [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Vandals[/lastfm])
Growing up in Orange County, California to a Mexican father and Irish mother, Joe Escalante grew up to become the bassist in famous punk band, The Vandals. The ultimate Renaissance man, Escalante also worked in television, owns a record label called Kung-Fu Records, directs and produces for its film offshoot, Kung Fu Films, is a radio host, and a bullfighter.
“Don’t Stop Me Now”
5. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Sheila Escovedo[/lastfm] (aka [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Sheila E[/lastfm])
Often viewed as “just one of the Prince girls,” Sheila Escovedo is actually one of the world’s most talented percussionists and heralds from a long line of talented Mexican-American musicians including her father Pete Escovedo. Sheila herself is Mexican, African-American and Creole, but she infuses much of her music with the Latin flavor taught to her by her father and uncles.
Starting her career as a teenager, Sheila E has put out six albums, does massive amounts of philanthropic work, and still appears to play with Prince from time to time.
“The Glamourous Life”
4. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Caifanes[/lastfm]
Starting in Mexico City in 1987 (around the same time as Cafe Tacuba), Caifanes is also considered one of the grandfather bands of the Rock En Espanol movement. Recently re-united in 2011 for Coachella, the band has only put of four of their new wave/progressive influenced albums, but Caifanes are considered the most seminal band in Latin Rock history.
3. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Joan Baez[/lastfm]
Famous American folk singer of the hippie era, Joan Baez, is half Mexican through her father who was born in Puebla, Mexico (the site where “Cinco De Mayo” battle took place) and half Scottish through her mother.
Since Baez’s musical start in 1958, she has released 34 studio and lives albums and has become one of the most important musicians/activists in the world, contributing most of her artistic energy to political and social causes.
“The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”
2. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Mana[/lastfm]
A latin pop and rock band from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, Maná has an eclectic pop rock sound that derives heavily from tropical influences like calypso and reggae, while also retaining the edginess of Rock En Espanol.
Maná has received extensive international commercial success, releasing twenty albums since 1987 and winning three Grammy awards and five Latin Grammy awards.
1. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Carlos Santana[/lastfm]
Born in Autlán de Navarro, Jalisco, Mexico to a father who was a mariachi violinist, Mexican-American Carlos Santana, is one of the most talented guitarists in musical history. Starting his career playing with [lastfm link_type=””]Bill Graham [/lastfm]in San Francisco during the hippie era, Santana got to play his Latin-infused rock and blues guitar at the original Woodstock festival in 1969.
Since then, Santana has released seven studio albums, three live albums, and made forty-nine guest appearances on other albums, winning ten Grammy awards for his efforts.