Esperanza’s Rock en Español playlist is way cooler than your Spanish textbook

Feb 15, 2012

Most Americans have ethnic and cultural roots outside of the U.S. We're asking you to share cultural traditions that are still important to you.

Changing Gears is looking for stories, recipes, songs, and pictures. We'll be collecting these stories  on the Your Family Story page. They'll also appear at changinggears.info and we'll even put some on the air. You can share your story here.

A lot of second and third generation Latinos have the idea that Mexico is this huge farm with cactus, but that is just a small part of Mexico. When your concept of Mexico is based on the stories that your grandparents tell you, your vision is so limited. 

I begged my parents for a satellite dish to watch popular music in Spanish to keep up with my cousins. I didn’t want them to know the lyrics to the songs we loved better than I did. My parents did cave and got the satellite. It opened a window to today’s Mexico. 

It was a very out there thing that many of my fellow Latino friends didn’t even know about. I wasn’t in California or Texas, I was way up in Michigan, so this was quite groundbreaking!

-Esperanza Rubio Torres, Michigan

“La Ingrata” - Café Tacuba

By far one of my favorite songs of all time. I remember seeing this on Univision when I was 13 and I was just totally obsessed with them from that day on. The energy is off the charts, the lead singer had this head of flaming red hair and devil horns.

“Florecita Rockera” - Aterciopelados

The first time I heard the song I was at my grandma’s house in Mexico and this came on MTV. I wanted to buy a guitar and start a band, start a revolution and change the world. That never happened, but I still sing this song loud wherever I am when I hear it.

“El Esqueleto” - Victimas del Doctor Cerebro

As infectious as a song can get without being illegal. Just a great tune about being fed up, looking for a cause, a path in life then saying “The hell with it” and dancing. 

“Gimmie Tha Power” - Molotov (Warning: Lots of cursing, all of it in Spanish)

A foul-mouthed, Spanglish song about why Mexico is marvelous and why Mexico sucks. Everyone screams the lyrics with love, like a curse filled prayer. In concert it’s amazing, the crowd goes crazy. The drummer, Randy Ebright, was born in Alma, Michigan. ALMA! I met him after a concert, also super kind, soft spoken and humble despite the fact that they are a massive Latin American band.

“De Música Ligera” - Soda Stereo.

A total CLASSIC. If you go to a party here in Mexico and don’t know this song, you’ll either be kicked out or you’ll learn it that night. They are from Argentina, but a huge favorite in the Spanish speaking world. This is the last song they played when they did their last concert on their farewell tour in 1997. When Gustavo Certi closed that show with “Gracias…totales” he broke a million hearts and created a quote that any “rock en ñ” fan will immediately recognize.