My first selection is Rodrigo y Gabriela. They started out as Mexican heavy metal musicians but decided they wanted to compose their own music, which has evolved into a lively style of flamenco influenced instrumental music. They did not gain a large following until they had spent some time playing on the streets and in restaurants in Ireland. "Tamacun" is one of their best known pieces.
Next is Andrés Segovia, from Spain. one of the most famous classical guitarists of the past century. He performed well into his 80s. It is said that Segovia did much to promote the guitar as a serious musical instrument, worthy of concert hall performances. "Asturias" is one of my favorites:
This is a Venezuelan version of "La Partida", a South American waltz. Again no lyrics, just music to enjoy. You can discover a multitude of other musical styles and performers by following up on YouTube's suggestions for related music after you listen to this one.
Finally, with some lyrics, is this music from a Chilean group, Inti Illimani, called Fiesta de San Benito. This music moves back and forth, then seems to pause, then moves forward, with the cadence of a street parade:
This song is most popular in Venezuela and has strong African influences. The lyrics can be found here.
This next song is from another continent and another era. "Morena me llaman" originated from the Sephardic Jews in Renaissance Spain, and is sung in Ladino, which is close to, but not exactly, Spanish. The lyrics, and their English translation, can be found here.
Back across to the Americas, this is a song called Atahualpa. It is normally sung by Huayucaltia, a Los Angeles based group who sing Latin American "nueva cancion or trova" style songs, however the only version I was able to find was not sung by them; I believe they have requested their songs be taken off YouTube. So I have here a non-native speaker of Spanish, performing in her living room. But she sings slowly and clearly and both Spanish and English lyrics are provided in the YouTube notes. The melody is haunting, as are the lyrics.
Next is Pasatono Orquesta's "Obertura maromera". I haven't been able to find the lyrics yet, but this article has a lot of information on the background to their musical traditions. This is a Oaxacan circus song:
A wealth of cultural images are shown in the video as the song is played in the background.
I confess that this next video, "Ama ka kui kundui Ñuu you" strays completely away from Spanish! It is in the Mixtec language, spoken by people native to the Oaxacan region of Mexico. The performer, Leonidas Rojas, is also associated with Pasatono Orquesta and I have included it for another glimpse into the culture of one specific region of Mexico. So far I have only found a translation of the title as "Cuando salí de mi pueblo". I saw an English translation as "when I leave my people".
With so much of this music I feel like I am only coming in contact with the tip of a cultural iceberg, and there is much more exploration to be done. Despite the amount of information on the internet, it can be difficult to find a lot of information on some of these songs and the traditions they represent.
Next, Ojos de Brujo's "Tesoro" is a much more sophisticated sounding song. Ojos de Brujo, or "Eyes of the Sorcerer" is from Barcelona and combines hip hop and flamenco in their music:
The lyrics can be found here. Or, another version here, if you want to have a good laugh over the attempted English translation.
The last song, Huepa Huepa, music from the Dominican Republic, performed by Daniel Indart, should get you out of your seats and off of the internet, where we all spend too much time. Even if you aren't in the mood to dance, the lyrics promise to be spicy enough to wake you up:
Spanish lyrics found are under the music on Youtube.
I know I am only scratching the surface. Spanish language music and the music of Latin American countries (not always in Spanish) has a vast amount of influences and regional specific history. I have been listening to enough lately that YouTube has decided to present me with ads in Spanish, which are rather less annoying than ads in English.
I have these songs in a collection on YouTube and will add more to the collection as I find them: