Learn Spanish with Your Favorite Mexican Singers

If I asked you to think about your Spanish teacher at school, how would you describe them? In my case, my Spanish teacher was a kind-faced woman who always carried a tape recorder from classroom to classroom. She would play popular songs from Mexican singers that she knew we loved (Luis Miguel was all the rage back then!) while she encouraged us to pay attention to the verb forms, meanings of curious phrases and grammar structures. Little did I know I was already learning things about the Spanish language that I would never forget. Little did I know that this was one of the best ways to learn Spanish.

Indeed, learning Spanish through music is a great way to pick up the language without feeling overwhelmed because it allows you to connect with the language through something you already enjoy, like your favorite Mexican singers. What’s more, music can help you recognize and remember new words more easily, develop your listening skills, and memorize entire expressions of phrases that may come in handy when speaking in Spanish.

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So if you’re looking for some fun and creative ways to learn Spanish, here are some of the best songs by Mexican singers that you can start learning with today.

Learn the difference between ‘ser’ and ‘estar’ with ‘Abrázame muy fuerte’, by Juan Gabriel

Juan Gabriel’s songs are always a great source of inspiration for me. His ‘Abrázame muy fuerte’ is a classic from the 70s and it’s the perfect song for beginners who want to learn Spanish. The simple but moving lyrics tell the story of a man who is waiting for his beloved to return and embrace him once again. From a linguistic perspective, it’s a great song to practice the difference between the two forms of ‘be’ in Spanish.

Cuando tú estás conmigo

Es cuando yo digo

Que valió la pena todo

Todo lo que yo he sufrido

When you are with me

Is when I can say

What we have

has been worth all the pain

The verb ‘be’ is much more complex in Spanish than in English. In the opening verses of Juan Gabriel’s classic ballad, you can see the difference between ‘estar’ and ‘ser.’ The verb ‘estar’, as in “Cuando estás conmigo” (When you’re with me) is used to talk about temporary state or situation, in which case the meaning of ‘be’ has a similar meaning to ‘stay’. On the other hand, ‘ser’ is used to describe a more permanent state or situation, as in “Es cuando yo digo” (It’s when I can say). So, “cuando estoy contigo” (when I’m with you, which is not always the case), “es cuando puedo decir) (is when I can say, meaning: I can say it every single time we are together) that it’s been worth it.

In addition, you can use this song to practice:

Imperative phrases

Abrázame – Hold me

In Spanish, the ‘object’ of the action (me) is embedded in the imperative verb

Gerunds

Llorando de felicidad – Crying of happiness

The English ‘ing’ form becomes ‘ando’ in Spanish

The Present Perfect Tense

Yo quiero agradecerte, amor, todo lo que me has dado – I wanna thank you, my love, for everything you’ve given

The auxiliary verbs ‘have’ and ‘has’ have the following forms in Spanish:

Yo (I): he

Tú (You): has

Él/Ella (He/She): ha

Nosotros (We): hemos

Ustedes (Pl. You): han

Ellos (They): han

Learn Mexican Spanish vocabulary with ‘Amor a la Mexicana”, by Thalia

Thalia is a singer and telenovela actress who has been a major figure in Mexican pop culture for over three decades. Her powerful and iconic song ‘Amor a la Mexicana’, produced by Emilio Estefan, is one of the most popular Mexican tunes ever written, and it’s a great song to learn Spanish words and expressions related to Mexico’s culture, customs and traditions.

Amor a la mexicana, de Cumbia, Huapango y Son

Caballo, bota y sombrero, tequila, tabaco y ron

Mexican-style love, made of cumbia, huapango and son

horses, boots and sombreros; tequila, tobacco, and rum

In only two lines, Thalia describes a Mexican-style love affair that is passionate, rhythmical and delicious. But what does she mean exactly?

  • Cumbia: a type of music and dance that originated in Colombia, but very popular across Latin America, particularly in Mexico. Of slow movement and tropical rhythm, cumbia is performed by couples who rotate without touching each other.
  • Huapango: a traditional Mexican dance and music from the state of Veracruz. It is danced by tapping with fast and complicated steps on a wooden platform.
  • Son: another popular music and dance style from Mexico, originating in the 18th century, characterized by its sensual movements and struts.
  • Bota y sombrero (boots and horses): typical elements that belong to the imagery of traditional Mexican ranchers.
  • Tequila, tabaco y ron (tequila, tobacco and rhum): a reference to traditional drinks from Mexico, which evoke a festive, joyful, but slightly wild atmosphere that is very common in Mexican canteens.

Learn adjectives with ‘Azul’, by Cristian Castro

One of the most popular Mexican singers ever, Cristian Castro, has written some of the most beautiful love songs in Spanish language. Known by his wide vocal range that can go from a soft whisper to a powerful shout, Cristian wrote ‘Azul’ in 2004 and it quickly became one of the most beloved Mexican love songs of the decade.

Fue una mañana que yo te encontré

Cuando la brisa besaba tu dulce piel

Tus ojos tristes que al ver adoré

It was one morning that I found you

The breeze kissed your sweet skin

And your sad eyes that I adored

In these lines, Castro invites us to contemplate the beauty of his beloved and he uses a few adjectives that you may find useful, especially when talking about love.

  • Dulce: sweet
  • Triste: sad
  • The very title of the song, ‘Azul‘, is an adjective that, in Spanish, means ‘blue’. The color blue is often associated with feelings of sadness and melancholia.

Throughout the song, Castro comes up with a few romantic phrases that compare the sadness of his love with this color:

  • Azul como el mar: Blue as the sea
  • Azul como el lucero de nuestra pasión: Blue as the star that blessed our lvoe
  • Azul como una lágrima cuando hay perdón: Blue as a tear of forgiveness

Learn Spanish Now

As you can see, learning Spanish with Mexican singers is a great way to get acquainted with the language, its culture and customs. From Thalia’s cumbia rhythms to Cristian Castro’s romantic metaphors, Mexican singers can be a great resource in your journey of learning Spanish, especially for those who like to have a bit of fun as they learn a new skill.

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However, if you want to capitalize on all the knowledge acquired from Mexican singers and learn Spanish for real, it would be wise to also invest in quality Spanish language classes. A good class will give you the tools and techniques necessary to go beyond the mere memorization of Spanish vocabulary and phrases, and will help you build a foundation for proper communication in Spanish.

At Listen & Learn, we offer courses specifically tailored to your learning needs so you can learn Spanish to achieve your goals. Our classes, conducted in person or taught via Skype or Zoom by professional Spanish teachers and feature a flexible, interactive learning environment that is engaging and fun. Contact us today to find out more about our courses and start learning Spanish in a way that fits your lifestyle!