In the Latin Rock genre of music one of the top bands over the past two decades has been Juanes. Named for their lead singer, Colombian, Juan Esteban Aristizabal Vasquez, the band has had quite a number of top singles over the years. An accomplished guitar player who started at age 7 and started his own band at age 15, Juan also plays the violin, piano, trumpet, flute, and sings as well. His popularity as the lead singer of the band has led him to be called by his band name, Juanes, rather than his given name of Juan.
Juanes Has Won A Whopping 15 Latin Grammy Awards
Most of the Latin Rock songs that Juanes has made have very catchy choruses, this helps to make them very popular since they are hard to forget. One of the favorites that has withstood the test of time is “La Camisa Negra” which means “The Black Shirt” in English. It came off of his 2004 album by the name of “Mi Sangre” or “My Blood” which gained the number one slot on the Billboard Top Latin Album chart on debut. It went on to maintain that spot for a total of 6 months.
That following year, Juanes was awarded 3 Latin Grammy awards based on that album. In addition, he also won Best Rock Song for “Nada Valgo Sin Tu Amor” which basically means “I’m Worthless Without Your Love.” Typical of rock songs around the world, most of their songs are about love, lost love, and finding love in various different ways. Juanes is popular throughout the world, playing not only in Spanish countries like Mexico, Colombia, and Spain, but also in Germany, the US, and other countries of Europe.
The band also was the top bill at the 2010 FIFA World Cup Concert, plus played in the New York Thanksgiving day parade sponsored by Macy’s that same year. The album P.A.R.C.E contained the top hits Yerbatero and Y No Regresas. Yerbatero marked a departure from the more Latin Pop Rock into a harder guitar rock sound and was produced by Stephen Lipton who had worked with Annie Lennox and Paul McCartney. Still, the song stayed true to the hardship of love type lyrics that the band is known for.
Y No Regresas is easily translated to “And Don’t Come Back!” co-written and also produced by Stephen Lipton as well. This song only took a few hours in his native Colombia to rise to the top of the charts after being played on the radio. It eventually spent lots of time on the Latin Billboard top 10 list for the year. The departure from Pop to more of a rock sound continued with this song as it is considered a rock power ballad, slow but hard hitting, similar to what the band U2 might produce.
The Band’s Latest “Loco De Amor” Continues The Trend
Crazy From Love or “Loco De Amor” is the sixth album the band has released and again was nominated and won for Best Latin Pop/Rock Album of The Year for 2014. And at the regular Grammy Awards that include all rock/pop bands it was also nominated in the Latin Pop/Rock genre showing its wide popularity and appeal around the world.
In 2009, the band went to Cuba on a peace mission in order to bring attention to the long standing separation from the rest of Latin America that characterizes the Cuban plight. Juanes held two “Peace Without Borders” concerts in Cuba to show solidarity with the Cuban people. At the same time, many in the Cuban-American community in Florida were highly critical of the move, saying that it further reinforces the oppression that the Cuban people face.
Juanes pushed back in a widely shown interview on Univision saying that he had no connection to or affiliation with the Cuban government and was solely expressing hope that the Cuban people should be free to listen and enjoy the music if they so desire. The band nearly canceled the concert since Juanes lived with his family in Key Biscayne, Florida at the time and had received death threats.
Juanes isn’t your typical Latin Pop music, if you like American Rock and Roll, you’ll most likely enjoy Juanes as well. Many of their songs are hard-hitting with well thought out lyrics based on the hardships of love that we can all identify with. His latest album, “Mis Planes Son Amarte” is now out and receiving wide acceptance as yet another top Latin Album that will rise to the top of the charts soon.