The Top 5 Latino Music Artists That Transcend All Generations

1561052943347 top latino artists who transcend generations - the top 5 latino music artists that transcend all generationsLatin America is undeniably a cradle for musical talent that just keeps giving, as new Latino artists are conquering the international music scene. But this is certainly not a new thing: Latinos have been delighting us with their music for decades now, and it’s a good time to look back at some of the most iconic figures whose voice and charm has rippled through the ages. Here are the top 5 Latino artists in music that transcend all generations.

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Celia Cruz

The Queen of Latin Music, the “Guarachera de Cuba,” the indisputable Queen of Salsa, Celia Cruz was nothing short of a global phenomenon whose music and incredible style has shone across generations. 

Born in Cuba in 1925, Cruz showed incredible talent as a vocalist from early on. After the Cuban Revolution she left her native country and went first to Mexico, then to the U.S., where her career flourished. By the ’70s she was fully committed to the Salsa genre, and sealed her legacy with over 35 studio albums, numerous prizes and awards which include two Grammys, and world-wide recognition as an unparalleled symbol of Latin America and tropical rhythm.

Carlos Gardel

This French-Argentine musical marvel is, simply put, the single most famous figure in the history of tango. Hands down. Throughout his singularly epic life, Gardel gained considerable international fame and recognition, with over 800 recordings and 11 films to his name. He became the archetypal tragic hero in the music world after his untimely death in an airplane crash in 1935, at the height of his career, when he was just 44 years old. His recordings were collectively registered by UNESCO as a “Memory of the World” in 2003, consolidating his legend for generations to come.


Speaking of tragic Latino legends, Selena is perhaps the most iconic of them all. Born in Texas in 1971, this Mexican-American singer rose to fame as the centerpiece artist for Tejano music, which earned her the nickname “Reina del Tex-Mex,” or Queen of Tex-Mex. Billboard magazine recognized her as the most influential Latin artist of the 1990s, and they were not wrong: her powerful voice and charm echoed across borders and generations, and her tragic murder at age 23 shocked the world beyond belief. But her legend would live on, with tribute collections, TV shows, films, and Broadway musicals being produced to this day.

Carmen Miranda

Her name still resonates across the world as one of the most representative figures of the tropical sensuality of Latin America. Nicknamed “The Brazilian Bombshell,” Miranda was truly a mixed bag of sheer talent, successfully conquering the world of music, film, and theatre. She was a prolific samba singer, dancer, and a notable Broadway and film actress. 

After her 1930 recording of “Taí (Pra Você Gostar de Mim)”, Miranda was launched into stardom in Brazil, and kept climbing the fame ladder internationally afterwards, becoming one of the most sought-after actresses in the U.S. and the foremost interpreter of samba in the world. And yes, you’d probably recognize her for her signature fruit hat outfit. 

Miguel Piñero

Born in Gurabo, Puerto Rico, in 1946, Piñero is not your average artist. He was certainly more a writer than a musician, but his hybrid style combines poetry, theatre, and music in a beautiful and fascinating fashion. He was a pioneer in spoken word poetry, and co-founded the famous Nuyorican Poets Café in 1973. The Café, located in Alphabet City in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, serves as an important bastion for expressive art for Puerto Rican culture in the U.S., featuring poetry, music, visual arts, comedy, and theatre. 

Bonus: Carlos Santana

Being recognized by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the top 20 guitarists of all time is no minor achievement, and that’s but a fraction of what Carlos Santana has accomplished in his incredible career as one of the most important figures of Latin rock in a generation. He is the leader of the popular rock band Santana, and captivated the imagination of audiences of all ages after his breakthrough performance at Woodstock in 1960, which made him an international star. 

Santana pioneered a fusion of Latin American Jazz and Rock & Roll, with hugely influential results. He has won 10 Grammys, collaborated with countless other artists (including Shakira, Steven Tyler, and Michael Jackson), and cemented his mark in the history of Latin American music to the delight of future generations.

That’s but a taste of an endless list of legendary Latino artists in the world of music—a list which keeps getting larger by the minute. We’re lucky to live in a time when we can appreciate such a variety of past and present talents, as the influence of Latinos across the world is becoming increasingly relevant in our politically-torn society.

Now, get to it and keep listening to these immortal legends!

(Cover photo via Instagram)

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