9 famous guatemalan songs

9 famous guatemalan songs | Guatexplorer

Every country has its musical scene. Guatemala is no exception here, but there are some songs that belong to the collective memory of the majority of Guatemalans. Something like eternal national hits. It is better to know some if you want to blend in.



1. Guatemala Feliz! - National anthem

Guatemalan national anthem was written by José Joaquín Palma and composed by Rafael Álvarez Ovalle and it was adopted on February 19th, 1896.

Why you have to know that song: Guatemalans like to sing their national anthem, but at the same time it is a very long one! So, you have to be patient some 6-7minutes, because Guatemalans will always sing a full version with pride. It would be also nice if you recognize the last verses, and sing them with the locals. „Guatemala, tu nombre inmortal“ – „Guatemala, your name, immortal!“

What this song really is: repeating, a bit hypnotic, nationalist, but join the crowd and respect the country you live in! Guatemalans will respond with love.

2. Mi Pais – Ricardo Arjona

Arjona is an author and musician that is literally the pride of Guatemala. If you want to learn solid Spanish, listen to his music. Guatemalans speak a nice version of that language, and Arjona has a great vocabulary and construction of his verses.

Why you have to know that song: like the majority of Arjona's songs, this one is a story. It is a story of growing up in Guatemala. But Arjona doesn't give an idealized picture, he mentions downsides but forgives.

What this song really is: Arjona is a smart man. He is an international star of Latino music. So, in this song, and you will get that later, he doesn't even mention Guatemala directly. No direct nationalism here. None whatsoever. So, the song can easily be applied to any Latin American childhood. In his video, though, he leaves no doubt. It IS Guatemala. Intelligent as hell, Ricardo!

3. Luna de Xelaju – various artists

If you hear this song on marimba, with jazz orchestra or someone whistling it in the street – that is the eternal hit of Guatemala. It is a waltz composed by Paco Perez in 1944. So, there is The Moon, there is the city of Quetzaltenango and very strong love story.

Why you have to know that song: it is everywhere, on every occasion and in every sad or happy moment. This song is a life itself.

What this song really is: lovely love impression that Perez composed for the love of his life, Miss Eugenia Cohen, a Jewish lady. Her parents disproved of that relation, so poor Paco had to make this stunning song and stay in Guatemalan music history as one of the pillars.

4. Vuestros pies – Luis Galich and band Santa Fe

Sometime in 1967 young Luis Galich Porta composed this song for the band Santa Fe that he just joined. Rock music was young. This gentle ballad depicts youngsters on a sandy beach, and it all together represents eternal love.

Why you have to know that song: maybe you will be lucky and meet the history of the rock music in Guatemala. No, it is not all about salsas and merengues.

What this song really is: it represents also an urban history of Guatemalan culture. It is about the skill and love that Luis Galich built into the culture of this country. Respect and learn to appreciate that element. It is important.

5. Como un Duende – Alux Nahual

Alux Nahual is a Guatemalan rock band formed in 1979 by brothers Plubio and Álvaro Aguilar, and their cousin Ranferi Aguilar. This band was born in the context of the confrontation between the guerrillas and the army. Alux Nahual means Spirit of the Goblin in English is a Maya-quiche phrase naming a goblin similar to a leprechaun or elf. The band's climax came in 1995 while performing in a sold-out show at Los Angeles Palace.

Why you have to know that song: not only this one. Listen to the band more!

What this song really is: you take Mayan culture and try to make a band that is something like Jethro Tull. The result is progressive rock music with a totally different cultural blend. This particular song is about the suffering of the children in this world, those little elves.

6. Any marimba music - various artists

Marimba, that lovely wooden instrument, is a part of Guatemalan identity. Almost anywhere in Guatemala, you'll hear marimba music, or you will find marimba orchestras in the streets of literally any town that you visit.

Why you have to know something about marimba: because most likely you'll be invited to a dance. Light and joyful rhythm will help you.

What a marimba really is: it is a percussion instrument. Although it can achieve beautiful and melodic sound, the marimba is a percussion. And there is another dimension to it: it is not a solo instrument. Marimba is played by 2-8 people that have to have a high level of coordination to produce the tune properly. It is a skill that you simply have to admire.

7. Chicharron con pelos - Los Miseria Cumbia Band

Made in local slang, this song became immensely popular somewhere in 2015. Several hits followed and Los Miseria Cumbia Band had their fair share of fame until they dissolved.

Why you have to know that song: it is a lovely song, made in beautiful Latino rhythm, with the lyrics that depict the life of Guatemalan market, mercado. There are many traditional foods that a real Guatemalan only would eat. It is a kind of a list of what to do in Guate if you want to be Guatemalan.

What this song really is: If you watch the video and know something about „chapinismos“, you'll get that the song is (also) about homosexuality. About a hairy chicharron. (NOTE: chicharrones are pieces of the pig's skin or very greasy parts, fried in deep oil. If you can eat this, you can call yourself Guatemalan).


8. Granada – Tito Santis

Of course, Granada is not a Guatemalan song. It was the Mexican composer Augustin Lara that made this eternal masterpiece. His full name was Ángel Agustín María Carlos Fausto Mariano Alfonso del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús Lara y Aguirre del Pino. Together with famous „Solamente Una Vez“ it became a standard of Latino boleros.

Why you have to know that song: Although the song sings about the beauty of Spanish town of Granada, it is deeply incorporated in Latino culture. Performed by the Guatemalan guitarist Tito Santis, this song gets another dimension, maybe closest to what the original author wanted it to be: a classical piece for the acoustic guitar.

What this song really is: this is the essence of an iberolatin guitar. That is the cultural treasure that connects Spain and Latin America.


9. Daughter and Sons of the Earth - Sara Currucich

Sara Curruchich (born in San Juan Comalapa, 1993) is a Guatemalan singer and composer of Mayan origin Kaqchikel. She is an activist in defense of the rights of women and indigenous peoples of Guatemala. She is known especially for her song "Resist" that condemns multinational companies in their occupation and exploitation of the native people's land.

Why you have to know that song: this particular song is well produced and represents a strong voice in favor of the preservation of nature.

What this song really is: It is a statement against the corruption in Guatemala. It is a firm political song inspired by the resignation and arrest of Guatemalan ex-president Otto Perez Molina..



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