Argentina: Roots Rock Reggae!

Argentina: Roots Rock Reggae!

Argentina’s got it all

Argentina puts out a lot of huge bands. As a country it is well represented on the Latin ska/rock/reggae front. Like I wrote in my article about ska in Mexico, Latin ska evolved quite differently than most ska north of the border. While many American ska bands gave punk music a central role, in the Spanish-speaking world ska was mixed with funk, reggae, rock, and Latin rhythms like salsa and cumbia.

For Latin ska/rock in Argentina, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs and Los Autenticos Decadentes lead the pack. On paper the bands sound very similar – big groups with classic songs, party-time live reps, lots of horns, and lots of percussion. They’ve both been active since the ’80s and command substantial, fiercely devoted followings. But give them a listen and you’ll hear the differences – Los Fabulosos Cadillacs are more experimental and deliver a heavy dance groove, while Los Autenticos Decadentes serve up the super catchy sing-alongs and play more rock.

If you like Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, then check out lead singer Vicentico’s solo work. One of my favorite songs in Spanish for its lyrics is “Los Caminos de la Vida,” a Mexican cumbia song. Vicentico does a great rendition of it, complete with a soccer brawl music video.

Latin reggae is a whole other story – to get started look for Los Pericos, also from Argentina. They have been around since the early ‘80s and have been called the first reggae group in there. Their most recent album, Pericos and Friends, features big guests from the world of reggae like Pato Banton, Toots Hibbert, and the Wailers.


That’s just the tip of the iceberg for Argentina, a country whose musical luminaries also include Soda Stereo, claimed by many to be the first internationally successful rock en espanol group, and Enanitos Verdes, writers of classics like “Lamento Boliviano.” Check all these groups out and let me know what you think!