After spending most of last year confined to home during an overwhelming pandemic, artists across the Spanish-speaking world approached 2021 with a voracious sense of creativity, their imaginations springing up with the force of a busted pipe. Such a sense of enthusiasm and inventiveness has led to large-scale projects, many of which have distilled traditions, broken the rules of the genre, and resulted in powerful mergers that have stepped unflinchingly into the future.
Colombian treasure of bullerengue Petrona Martinez put African roots at the forefront of her Grammy-winning Latin Ancestors, while Mexican singer Natalia Lafourcade continued her quest to bring Mexican musical history back to the present day on Un Canto Por México, Vol 2. There were albums guided by introspection and depth, like the magnificent LP of the multi-hyphenated Colombian Mabiland. Niñxs Rotxs, self-reflection by Mexican singer-songwriter Ed Maverick Edouardo, and Nicaraguan-Canadian electronic artist Mas Aya Mascaras, a meditation on people struggling against oppression over the decades. Others, like the Panamanian singer with the voice of Honey Sech on 42 and Chilean indie icon Javiera Mena on I. Enthusiasm, celebrated the euphoria of hitting the dance floor again after the lockdown.
The two albums which perhaps best embodied the sound experiences of 2021 were the breathtaking and avant-garde opus of C. Tangana. The Madrilenian, which should establish itself as one of the best Spanish-language musical recordings of the last decade, and the intrepid blockbuster of Rauw Alejandro Vice versa, a daredevil mix of pop, house and even bolero music that rocked the pop and reggaeton trade conventions, spawned mega-hits like “Todo De Ti” that defined and propelled summer. to the rank of world celebrity. Both albums shaped an adventurous year that left us hoping for more music with a vision.