Essential Latin Music Albums

Everyone just venturing into Latin music should take note of the following albums. These works have been among the most popular productions in genres such as Latin Rock, Salsa, Merengue and Mexican music. From Donde Jugaran Los Niños to Bachata Rosa, the following albums will provide you with a starting place to discover some of the most wonderful sounds surrounding Latin music.

Released in 1992, Donde Jugaran Los Niños is the name of the breakthrough album that transformed Mana into the most popular Mexican Rock band of all time. The album is defined by a pleasant sound that moves between the beats of Rock and Latin Pop. Some of the most memorable tracks on this album include songs like "Oye Mi Amor," "Vivir Sin Aire" and "Como Te Deseo." In terms of Latin Rock, Donde Jugaran Los Niños is definitely one of the most essential albums ever produced in this field.

It is not an easy task to pick an album that defines the richness of Cuban music. However, I think Cachao's Master Sessions Vol. 1 is one of the best works dealing with the vibrant sounds from Cuba. This album provides an amazing track listing that combines different genres such as Danzon, Mambo, Descarga and Son. Definitely a must have for those who want to further explore the sounds of the Caribbean.

Although Vallenato is not one of the most popular Latin music genres, I decided to include this album here because of the significant appeal of its music. With this work, Carlos Vives exposed Vallenato to a worldwide audience that fell in love with the sounds of this vibrant music style. Clasicos De La Provincia includes some of Carlos Vives' best songs including the famous hit "La Gota Fria."

'MTV Unplugged: Los Tigres del Norte and Friends' - Los Tigres del Norte

Photo Courtesy Fonovisa
'MTV Unplugged: Los Tigres del Norte and Friends'. Photo Courtesy Fonovisa

For the past decades, Los Tigres del Norte have been producing outstanding albums in the Norteno field. This album features a nice compilation of enduring hits such as "Contrabando Y Traicion," "Golpes En El Corazon" and "La Jaula De Oro." Apart from this, MTV Unplugged: Los Tigres del Norte and Friends offers a sophisticated sound thanks to the different stars that took part on this project.

Siembra is widely considered one of the best Salsa albums ever recorded. Originally released in 1978, this seven-track album features the talented trombonist Wille Colon and the famous Salsa singer Ruben Blades. Some of the best tracks on this album include titles like "Buscando Guayaba," "Dime," "Plastico" and the memorable song "Pedro Navaja."

'Un Dia Normal' - Juanes

Photo Courtesy Universal Latino
Juanes - 'Un Dia Normal'. Photo Courtesy Universal Latino

Colombian superstar Juanes owes a lot of his popularity to this album. This production features some of the best songs Juanes has ever recorded including hits like "A Dios Le Pido," "Es Por Ti," "La Paga" and "Fotografia," a track featuring Nelly Furtado. A wonderful album from beginning to end, Un Dia Normal defined an important chapter in the history of Colombian Rock and Pop music.

'Getz/Gilberto' - Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto

Photo Courtesy Verve/PolyGram Records
Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto - 'Getz/Gilberto'. Photo Courtesy Verve/PolyGram Records

As far as Brazilian music goes, this production recorded by American saxophonist Stan Getz and the talented guitarist Joao Gilberto is one of the most essential albums in the history of Bossa Nova. Getz/Gilberto contains classic songs such as "Doralice," "Desafinado" and "Corcovado". It also includes the memorable recording of "The Girl From Ipanema," featuring Brazilian singer Astrud Gilberto.

'Me Veras Volver: Hits & Mas' - Soda Stereo

Photo Courtesy Ariola
Soda Stereo - 'Me Veras Volver Hits & Mas'. Photo Courtesy Ariola

Because of its enormous impact on Latin Rock, Soda Stereo is one of the most influential artists in Latin music. Led by its talented singer Gustavo Cerati, this Argentinian band produced an extensive repertoire of hits. Me Veras Volver: Hits & Mas offers a nice compilation of some of the best songs recorded by Soda Stereo including tracks such as "Cuando Pase El Temblor," "Nada Personal" and "De Musica Ligera."

Mi Tierra was the first Spanish-language album released by the Cuban-American singer Gloria Estefan. This work embraces the Cuban roots of the artists through an eclectic mix of romantic and spicy melodies. Besides the megahit "Mi Tierra," top tracks include titles like "Con Los Años Que Me Quedan," "Ayer" and "Mi Buen Amor." A wonderful album from beginning to end.

This has been one of the most popular albums ever recorded in Latin music. The combination of classic Bolero songs with the charisma of one of the biggest Latin Pop stars in the world ended up producing a killer album that was immediately embraced across Latin America. Thanks to Romance, Luis Miguel consolidated a place as one of the most romantic singers ever lived in Latin music.

Vicente Fernandez is better known as The King of Ranchera Music. Thanks to his enormous repetoire, Vicente Fernandez is one of the most influential Mexican artists in history. Historia De Un Idolo Vol. 1 is a compilation album that includes some of his most famous songs such as "La Ley Del Monte," "Por Tu Maldito Amor" and "Mujeres Divinas."

'Dance Mania' - Tito Puente

Photo Courtesy RCA Records
Tito Puente - 'Dance Mania'. Photo Courtesy RCA Records

In 1958, Tito Puente released one of the best albums of his prolific musical production. From the very beginning, Dance Mania took the Latin world by storms thanks to an amazing compilation of tracks featuring everything from Mambo and Cha-Cha to Latin Jazz and Bolero. The impact of this album was acknowledged by the New York Times back in 2000 when it placed this production as the only Latin work included in the list of the 25 most significant albums of the 20th century.

If you are just getting into Merengue and Bachata, the music of Juan Luis Guerra will guide you in the right direction. A living legend of Latin music, this Dominican artist has had a tremendous impact on Caribbean music and Tropical rhythms. Bachata Rosa is a fantastic album that includes memorable tracks such as "Burbujas De Amor," "Como Abeja Al Panal," "La Bilirrubina" and "Bachata Rosa." This fantastic production is definitely one of the most essential albums in Latin music.