Buenos Aires is a captivating city, loaded with nostalgia in a good way. Everyone knows that tango is its typical music. But the truth is that today’s locals’ musical tastes are quite broad and have less and less to do with those traditional sounds. Cumbia, reggaeton, trap, pop, and rock are the genres that are played the most on music platforms.
At the top of those lists, we find local rappers Trueno, Duki, Dillom, and Ysy A. They all collaborated with renowned producer Bizarrap. In fact, all of them were part of his famous sessions, like the talented Nicki Nicole, who moved from Rosario to Buenos Aires and stands out among the other female post-teen stars (Tini, María Becerra). Not long ago, Nicole and Trueno recorded their Tiny Desk Concert in a local version. She included tango instruments like the bandoneon. And he gave his performance in the heart of La Boca, one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city.
Of course, if we have to mention neighborhood belonging, we have to cross to the Buenos Aires suburbs to find L-Gante, the great spreader of the so-called “cumbia 420” – a mix of cumbia, trap and reggaeton, fueled by slum culture and cannabis vibe.
These names are definitely Gen Z favorites. But if we have to highlight someone in the hip-hop scene, there aren’t too many doubts: Wos is the master. Trained in the school of freestyle, this young man avoids the prefabricated format of autotune and throws a pitch that is as personal as it is socially committed. Wos lights up over incendiary beats like those on “Canguro” and carves out heartfelt ballads like “Arrancármelo”.
Other young artists venture into somewhat crazier artistic terrain. Together or separately, we cannot fail to mention the charmingly provocative Ca7riel and Paco Amoroso. Native to Buenos Aires, this hip-hop and electronica duo took a break in 2019 for each other’s solo releases, but last year they teamed up again to put together an exciting show. Trap as an experiential state of mind.
Originally from Córdoba, but settled in Buenos Aires, Zoe Gotusso is a brilliant singer-songwriter who came to refresh the music scene. After being part of Salvapantallas, she established herself in 2021 with her debut solo album Mi Primer Día Triste. That same year, her face and name were brought to Times Square in New York, as part of Equal’s campaign to promote the empowerment of women in the music industry.
Bands like Bandalos Chinos and Conociendo Rusia lead a kind of new modern pop-oriented male outpost. As a counterpart, some girls capable of revalidating rock stood out:Marilina Bertoldi, Lucy Patané, and Paula Maffía. New goddesses of the electric guitar, but also capable of expressing themselves with any instrument that falls into their hands, each of them has their own identity as singer-songwriters. Of course, their rock formation doesn’t limit or prevent them from exploring acoustic formats and folk sounds.
If there’s a Buenos Aires rock band with a great live show, it’s Los Espíritus. Their magic potion of psychedelic blues and effervescent rhythms is enhanced on stage, where they usually have different types of special guests, from the bohemian milonguero Melingo to the seventies rock revivalist Carca. Among the band’s most recent collaborations, we find Gustavo Santaolalla playing his charango in “Lagunas Blancas”.
Now, if you feel a ritual attraction to rhythms, nothing better than venturing into a performance of La Bomba de Tiempo, a percussion collective that practices improvisation based on a system of more than 70 signs to direct the musicians on stage. And if it’s carnival season, you might be lucky to catch the murga spirit of Los Auténticos Decantedes. Things can also get more tropical if the guests are La Delio Valdez, one of the most important cumbia big bands in the city.
A punk attitude seems to be the key to the approach of some local bands to traditional music. With more than 20 years of career, there’s the Orquesta Típica Fernández Fierro, a collective of twelve musicians that rescues the format of the old typical tango orchestra but with an aesthetic and a sound impact closer to rock. With a shorter career but thicker beards, we come across Los Tabaleros, a band dedicated to folklore and regional music from northeastern Argentina.
Buenos Aires also works as a base for artists who mix electronic beats with folk sounds, such as Pedro Canale’s solo project Chancha Vía Circuito and his Patagonian friends from Fémina, both with international projection. Now moved to Spain, but marked by Argentine folklore and the musical influences of the Rio de la Plata, Guada performs live whenever she can in her hometown.