Argentina’s music scene is a blend of traditional sounds and new styles, from modern Latin pop to tango. Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, the way music is sung (and performed) has changed, thanks to Argentine pioneers like Mercedes Sosa and León Gieco.
In this post, we’re going to look at the lives and careers of 15 of the greatest and most famous Argentine singers that graced the music world with their talent, soul, and voice.
1. Mercedes Sosa
Up first we have Haydee Mercedes Sosa who was born into a working-class family in San Miguel de Tucumán. Her earliest memories of music were when she sang on the radio, much to her father’s dismay.
Years later, she found herself amid a folklore revival in the areas surrounding Buenos Aires and as the new founder of the “Nuevo Cancionero” movement.
Her music challenged the military regime, so she was often opposed during the 1960s. However, a few years later brought her triumph and success as she toured the United States and Europe.
She went on to become the most prolific Argentine singer and the voice of Latin America, with ensemble albums like “Homenaje a Violeta Parra” and “¿Será posible el Sur?” advocating for democracy and urging in an era of peace.
2. Sandro de América
Mext we have singer Sandro de América, born Roberto Julio Sanchéz, who was a singer, performer, and actor most notable as one of the first Latin American artists to blend rock and Spanish.
He was called the “Argentine Elvis,” redefining Argentine music throughout his career. He sold millions of records including his most famous hits “Rosa, Rosa” and “Tengo.”
His music career was filled with records, awards, and lead roles in films and he became the first Latino to sell out Madison Square Garden, earned a Latin Grammy award, and continued to perform well into the 1990s.
3. Lali Espósito
Lali Espósito is a native of Buenos Aires, where she began her career as an actress and later moved on to singing, dancing, and even coaching soccer.
After landing a role in the TV show Rincón de Luz, she earned more acting roles in the film industry. Soon after, she joined the Argentine pop band Teen Angels, making her first attempt at becoming a musician.
While with the group, she toured multiple countries and released numerous successful albums. She eventually came out with her first solo album La Bailar, which won a few awards and gained popularity in the Latin American community.
Her success only soared from there, landing her opportunities to open for Ricky Martin and Fifth Harmony. She continues to act and produce chart-topping hits such as “Tu Novia” and “Tu Sonrisa.”
4. Diego Torres
Diego Antonio Caccia is a singer, songwriter, actor, and the son of another legendary Argentine musician, Lolita Torres.
As a three-time Latin Grammy winner, his success brought him multiple hit singles and eventual induction into the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame.
His first band, Macca, only lasted for a few years until he went solo. He scored a record deal and released many popular albums like Tratar de Estar Mejor (1994) and Un Mundo Diferente (2001) that served as an anthem for a recovering Argentine economy.
Today, his signature pop-rock sound still influences his popular singles that top the Latin charts.
5. Facundo Cabral
Facundo Cabral was a popular Argentine composer, singer, and songwriter that rose to fame and success despite enduring a harrowing childhood.
While working at a hotel, his manager discovered his talent with a guitar and allowed him to perform there. He gained popularity after releasing his single “No soy de aqui ni soy de alla.”
However, his lyrics did not impress his country’s government, forcing him to leave. It made way for a worldwide tour where his music enthralled many with his folksy tunes and attracted thousands to his concerts.
While touring Central America, he was fatally shot in his SUV which sparked outrage but failed to dim the influence he already brought to Latin music.
6. Luis Alberto Spinetta
Luis Alberto Spinetta is seen as one of the most influential rock artists Argentina has produced. He grew up in Buenos Aires and eventually started his music career with three other artists to form the band Almendra.
The band released popular singles like “El Mundo Entre las Manos” and “Muchacha Ojos de Papel” featuring the enthralling combination of Spanish and rock music.
Spinetta eventually went solo, teaming up with other artists like Leon Gieco, to produce soundtracks for films and more albums, including Only Love Can Sustain (1980).
He continued to make music for a while, bridging the gap between classic rock and Latin ballads until he died in 2012.
7. Andrés Calamaro
The Rock en Espanol era brought many talents into the spotlight, including Argentine singer-songwriter Andrés Calamaro.
He is considered one of the most influential Argentine singers and songwriters, with a musical style ranging between funk, reggae, tango, and rock.
In the 1980s, his early music career included albums Hotel Calamaro (1984) and Nadie Sale Vivo de Aqui (1989) featuring a mix of genres. He continued to partner up with other musicians forming different music groups like Los Rodriguez.
But his solo career began to take off since again when he produced the extremely popular album Alta Suciedad (1997).
Later on, in the 90s and early 2000s, he experimented with tango and rock, earning an award for the best rock album with El Regreso (2005). He went on to work with many other artists and produce more albums.
8. Carlos Gardel
Carlos Gardel was a much older figure in Argentine music and an essential pioneer in welcoming a new side to tango.
He brought a newer image to the songs when many of Argentina’s high-status citizens frowned upon it.
He was born in France but later moved with his mother back to Buenos Aires. There, he spent his youth focusing on growing his musical talent.
His romantic ballads swept the Argentine public in an embrace, helping them to view tango music as a new sort of freedom and excitement. His “Mi Noche Triste” became the first tango song to be recorded despite its provocative language.
Not long after that, he focused entirely on tango music, producing song after song embraced just enthusiastically as the first.
9. León Gieco
Leon Gieco was one of many Argentine artists whose deep passion and outspoken personalities could not fit inside the forced censorship from Argentina’s leaders.
As a legendary folk-rock singer, his music held the hearts of many from his homeland and the rest of the world. He first began his journey with music as a little boy, learning to play the guitar in the early 60s.
He eventually released his debut album Leon Gieco (1973) along with others helping him become more known amongst the rock scene.
However, he fled to the United States, reuniting with another artist to produce the successful Pensar en Nada (1981).
After returning, he toured all over his home country and throughout Europe, producing many more records and using his rebellious voice to solidify his place amongst the greatest Argentine rockers.
10. Ricardo Montaner
Héctor Eduardo Reglero Montaner, also known as Ricardo Montaner, was a master of romantic ballads, classic orchestras, and sappy telenovelas.
His popularity began in Venezuela, but his roots go back to Avellaneda, near Buenos Aires, Argentina.
He began his career in the mid-1970s producing a couple of albums that weren’t nearly as popular as his albums produced with Warner Music Latina. Both Es Así (1997) and the orchestra-styled album Con la London Metropolitan Orchestra (1999).
Later on, his Todo y Nada album helped him reclaim his seat as a powerhouse in the Latin pop industry.
Through the years, he delivered constant performances and successful chart-toppers like “Hoy Tengo Ganas de Ti.”
11. Lola Ponce
Lola Ponce is an actress, singer, songwriter, and model from the city of Capitán Bermúdez, a city near Rosario. She was born into a family of musicians, so a life of acting, singing, and modeling was inevitable.
When she was young, she sang in music festivals, finding a passion that would turn into a life-long pursuit.
In 1999, she signed a recording contract with Mediavilla and produced her first album Inalcanzable (2001).
Her second album Fearless was her first in English and received critical acclaim in Europe. Her success in the Latin pop genre landed her invitations to perform at major music festivals and grew her global reach in the pop industry.
12. Atahualpa Yupanqui
The famous Atahualpa Yupanqui is considered the father of folk music in Argentina and one of the most influential Argentine singers of the 20th century.
He grew up in the region of Buenos Aires, where he discovered folk and traditional music, eventually laying down the foundation for many more Argentine musicians.
He signed his first contract with Chant Du Monde and released his first record in Europe, “Minero Soy”, which won Best Foreign Disc from an esteemed academy.
His major influence on Argentine culture earned him a knighthood and the Diamond Konex Award.
His music called to artists of the Nueva Canción movement and his compositions can be found in the institutes, schools, and the minds of those who loved his folksy sound and magic on the guitar strings.
13. Gustavo Cerati
Gustavo Cerati was another Argentine great, frontman for the legendary rock band Soda Stereo, and a successful solo artist that left behind a legacy and standard for Latin rock music.
He was influenced by other prominent rock artists such as The Beatles and Led Zepplin. His early career led him to Soda Stereo which eventually propelled him and his bandmates to fame.
They sold out arenas and performed all across Latin America and the United States with hit albums Soda Stereo (1984) and Signos placing Cerati on a more international stage.
As he went solo, he released three albums in 2002 and a few singles that experimented with upbeat electronica, classic rock, and slower ballads.
His last solo album Fuerza Natural (2009) featured an even more diverse style: folk. It was highly popular on both the national and international stages.
14. Rodrigo Alejandro Bueno
Rodrigo Alejandro Bueno, better known by his stage name “Rodrigo,” became one of the only artists to establish success and influence in the cuarteto music genre.
He was born into the music scene like many others before him, specifically the upbeat cuarteto scene. His music career began very early, recording his first album at the age of five and joining his first band in his early teens.
He released a couple of albums with Polygram Records and one album with Sony Music. It wasn’t until he signed a contract with Magenta Records that he produced a smashing hit single “Lo Mejor del Amor.”
Years before he retired, he sold out venues, went on tour, and performed twenty to thirty shows a week in front of thousands waiting to hear his cuarteto-styled tracks. He performed his last ever show on June 23, dying the very next day in a fatal car accident.
15. Abel Pintos
Abel Pintos is a more modern Argentinian artist with influences in folk and pop music. His music career began at the early age of 13 when he released his debut album Para cantar he nacido (1998).
He was introduced to Leon Gieco after his demos landed in the hands of Gieco’s producer, who then funded and produced Pintos’ debut album.
He went on to perform in prestigious music festivals and release more albums that helped him rise to fame, like his Cosas del corazón in 2001.
Later, he produced one of this best albums, ABEL (2013), where he won Best Pop Album, Album of the Year, and Production of the Year. His eclectic style became more focused with later albums, but he never lost his folksy sound.
Summing Up Our List of Great Argentine Singers
Artists like Yupanqui, Sosa, and Gieco all used their fame, voice, and lyrics to speak out against their leaders.
The music of these Argentinians inspires the heart and encourages the mind through its romantic melodies and upbeat sounds.
Whether it is music inspired by salsa, tango, rumba, or bachata, this extensive list of Argentine’s greatest will stay with the Latin music world forever.
Their voices have not disappeared, are still adored today, and continue to give the music scene a little more flair.