Revisiting the greatest Mexican songwriters
Pretty old songs performed by modern artists
The best way to start writing a blog post about this topic is just saying: It’s great to be part of a country full of cultural richness and amazing Mexican songwriters and artists. Having said that, have you ever heard a “new” song without knowing that, in fact, it’s an old composition revisited by a modern artist? This may happen all over the world in all music genres.
Mexico is the home to worldwide famous songwriters since the 19th century. From classic masterpieces to traditional music or romantic songs. You can take a glimpse of this while enjoying Xcaret’s Mexico Espectacular show.
Get to know some of the greatest Mexican songwriters
The first on the list is Manuel M. Ponce. Considered the father of Mexican nationalism for his numerous compositions at the beginning of the 20th century. He’s the creator of the happy birthday song in Mexico called “las mañanitas”.
María Grever is a songwriter who specialized in music for live concerts and movie scores. She is known as one of the greatest female songwriters of all time. Artists like Aretha Franklin, Rod Stewart, Gloria Estefan, and Amy Winehouse have performed her songs. This last one sang the song called “What a difference a day makes”.
Black and white films during the 40s and 50s are considered the golden era of Mexican cinema. Cuco Sanchez was one of the main songwriters of these decades. Write down the name so you can listen to the interpretations of Sanchez’s songs by Pedro Infante, Lucha Villa, Lola Beltrán, and Chavela Vargas.
The next one is better known as “El Rey” or “the king”. José Alfredo Jiménez is the main reference when we talk about mariachi music. It’s said that he composed more than a thousand songs. He passed away at the age of 47 in Mexico City.
- Next, is Consuelo Velázquez. A gifted pianist and Mexican songwriter. She wrote one of the most famous around the world. Revisited by thousands of artists in several different languages. Her song “Bésame Mucho”, is one of the most romantic songs of all time.
- Proud to be from Yucatán, Armando Manzanero is the king of romantic music in Mexico. Multi-awarded songwriter, famous around the world. He is the author of songs such as “Somos novios”, “No sé tú” and “Contigo aprendí”. His melodies and lyrics made a great match with performers like Luis Miguel, a very popular singer in the 90s and still one of the most powerful voices in Mexico.
- Joan Sebastian is known as, “the poet of the people”. He won five Grammy awards and seven Latin Grammys with his compositions and albums. With a successful career as a songwriter and solo singer, he wrote thousands of lyrics for many Mexican traditional music artists from the 80s to the 2000s.
- Alberto Aguilera Valadéz better known as Juan Gabriel has a special place in music. He is one of the most important and loved Mexican songwriters of all time. Many of his songs are already considered as Mexico’s popular cultural heritage. Also, he was the first Mexican artist to perform at Palacio de Bellas Artes with a symphony orchestra.
Sadly, these 3 last songwriters have recently passed away in the last couple of years. Leaving a legacy of songs for modern artists to revisit.
- The romance between María Felix, a famous Mexican actress, and Agustín Lara is one of the most famous of the gold era of Mexican cinema. Lara wrote a song for her called “Maria Bonita” and is the author of more than 700 songs. He even has a museum in his memory in his hometown in Tlacotalpan, Veracruz.
- Finally, I also want to add to the list Marco Antonio Solís, which nowadays collaborates with many Latin pop writers. Also, he has many hits as a solo singer. Roberto Cantoral is a famous songwriter with many famous “boleros” revisited by Luis Miguel. These recent covers helped to rediscover his compositions in the mid-90s. Last but not least, Martín Urieta, a writer of many “ranchera” music in the last years. Many of his songs are part of Mexican parties with mariachi these days.
Let’s get down to business and hit that playlist! 🎧
Revisiting or making song covers is not new in the music world. It’s how an artist or group pays tribute or shows what their roots and inspirations were to create their style.
Listen to these recent versions of Mexican songwriter’s masterpieces. In this playlist, you’ll find instrumental songs from Alondra de la Parra, world-famous orchestra director, to new romantic versions of boleros from Luis Miguel or Natalia Lafourcade. Listen carefully to the amazing voice of Lila Downs. It may also help you to practice your Spanish and maybe dedicate this song to someone!
Indeed, these revisited versions show us that a good song can be played in many genres as long as its essence remains. Tell us, which was your favorite?