Five Famous Latino Bands That Made History

From Mexico to Argentina, you will meet people singing and dancing on the streets, celebrating life every day. And it seems like the sound of exotic salsa is emerging from the sunlit ground and vibrating under your feet.

Latin music is a huge part of the world’s cultural heritage. It’s so diverse and versatile that it covers all famous music genres — from traditional sounds of bossa nova, Latin pop and reggaeton, all the way to great ska and rock and roll. 

What’s a Typical Latino Sound?

It would not be easy to single out one musical genre that is a true representative of South America. Of course, artists like Santana, Gloria Estefan, Jennifer Lopez, and many others have experienced such popularity and changed the history of music. 

But when it comes to bands, we can mention a few fantastic ones that have achieved worldwide fame and left a significant mark on the Latin music scene.

Most Popular South American’s Bands

  • Maná

This pop-rock band comes from Guadalajara, Mexico. It was founded in 1986 and has been performing even today. In the history of Latino pop culture, Maná is considered to be the most popular band ever.

Besides South America, they gained great fame in Spain and the US where they often filled concert halls and had very successful tours.

The band holds a record of 40 million sold album copies and it has won multiple MTV, Grammy, Billboard, and many other prestigious music awards.

Carlos Delgado / CC BY-SA (
  • Los Lobos

Regardless of the fact that this band comes from South California, their music is a perfect blend of rock ‘n’ roll, folk, soul, blues and traditional sounds of Columbia and Mexico. They became very popular after they had made a cover of the timeless Ritchie Valens’ hit “La Bamba.”

Los Lobos, or “the Wolfs”, entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.

  • Santana
Eva Rinaldi / CC BY-SA (

The Santana band was formed in the 1960s in San Francisco and is named after its founder, a famous guitarist and songwriter with Mexican roots — Carlos Santana. The band often changed its configuration, so today the only member from the original setup is Carlos himself.

Carlos Santana has performed many successful concerts around the world, starting with Woodstock in 1969. Throughout his career, he has collaborated with many Latino and American stars. 

Outside the South American area, this is one of the best-selling bands of all time that holds many prestigious awards.

  • Buena Vista Social Club

This Cuban band is a tribute to pre-revolutionary Havana. It was named after one of the most famous neighborhoods, Buenavista, the crib of popular music back in the 1940s. 

The Buena Vista project brought together the best musicians, producers, and artists from all over the world to create a documentary with the same name. Both the film and the album gained tremendous success and brought traditional Cuban music to a worldwide audience.

Ice Boy Tell / CC BY-SA (
  • Café Tacvba

The group was formed in the late 80s as a punk-rock, ska and electro band that created music with elements of traditional norteño, bolero, and ranchera.

They gained enormous fame in their native Mexico with a debut album that later became contagious throughout the continent. For the next couple of years, the band was often present at the Billboard Chart and competed for prestigious music awards such as the Grammy and the Best Latino Album.