In this post: A round-up of classic folk songs from Spanish speaking countries that every bilingual family will love.

One great way to get the whole familia to practice your Spanish is to learn traditional folk songs from different Spanish-speaking countries.

classic folk songs in Spanish

We’ve compiled a list of some of the most authentic folk songs in the Hispanic culture, some of which you’ll find in the Llamitas Spanish curriculum

All the units in the curriculum include at least two traditional Spanish songs sung acapella by a Latin Grammy-nominated Voice Producer.

What are Folk Songs? 

Folk songs are popular songs that have been handed down through generaciones and that most people in a country or region are familiar with.

Many Latin American folk songs descend from folk songs that originated in Spain, while others are canciones típicas that identify or represent specific countries.

Our Top 20 Folk Songs in Spanish

While it would be a far too ambitious project to put together a list of all the top Hispanic folk songs in history, we’ve compiled a great list of our top 20 favorites!

A lively Mexican folk song about homesickness and longing for one’s home en el rancho.

A silly rhyme song about rice pudding and wanting to get married. This song is one of the many children’s songs included in our Mama Llama Linguist Spanish Nursery Rhymes.

A typical Spanish folk song that is accompanied by a children’s rocking game, this song descends from the San Juan celebrations in Spain and is widely popular all over Latin America.

There are many variations of the song, according to which region you hear it in. Find the lyrics to our version of it in our Mama Llama Linguist Spanish Nursery Rhymes.

This song became an international hit with its silly lyrics detailing all the things one needs to dance La Bamba.

A popular love song from Mexico, Cielito Lindo is sung all over América Latina and its wonderful chorus makes it a great sing-along song.

This very sad ranchera is about a man who loses his love and sings sadly to a beautiful dove who visits him. This one also has a great sing-along chorus!

This popular Cuban lullaby is sung in an old Afro-Cuban dialect that descends from the days of slavery, in which the word “duerme” is mispronounced as “drume.” This lullaby has been handed down through generations in Cuba, and parents still sing it to their babies to this day.

A very famous folk song from Cuba in which the lyrics often change, as they originate from the short verses of Cuba’s national poet, José Martí. The chorus “Guantanamera” praises the women of the Guantánamo region in Cuba.

Included in our Mama Llama Linguist Spanish Nursery Rhymes and featured in the Llamitas Spanish Curriculum, this is one of the most widely sung children’s songs.

Perhaps the most popular folk song to come from Panamá, El Tambor de la Alegría is a lively cumbia that is irresistible to dance to and is often performed to represent Panamá around the world.

Originating as a military march, this popular Nicaraguan folk song hailing from the regions of Masaya, Diriá y Diriomo in Nicaragua became a folkloric dance that is performed by a couple with the man wearing a face mask depicting the zopilote or buzzard.

This beautiful Chilean folk song, written by the famous Chilean singer-songwriter Violeta Parra, has won the hearts of people all lover Latin America as well as Latinos in the U.S. The song sings praises to the beautiful things in life and to life itself.

A pollera is a typical style of Colombian dress used in folkloric celebrations and this song is perhaps one of Colombia’s most popular folkloric songs. 

This beautiful and widely beloved Preuvian vals (waltz) was composed by the very famous singer-songwriter Chabuca Granda as an homage to her friend Victoria Angulo Castillo de Loyola, a humble woman who had to cross a wooden stick bridge every morning as part of her daily chores. 

There are varying accounts as to the origin of La Macarena, but it is undoubtedly one of the most popular songs – along with its iconic dance – in Spain, Latin America, and the U.S. What would a Hispanic wedding be without La Macarena?

One of our favorite children’s songs that is also included in our Mama Llama Linguist Spanish Nursery Rhymes. It describes the way baby chicks communicate with their mom and how the mother hen takes care of them.

Written in 1929 by the great Puerto Rican composer Rafael Hernadez, this sad and lovely song tells of the tragic conditions of poverty that Puerto Rican farmers had to endure almost 100 years ago. The song is still popular today and represents the sadness of the struggle of the poor people in Puerto Rico.

This romantic love song is a beautiful guarania inspired in the music of the Indigenous population of Paraguay, and tells the story of a couple who meets alongside the shores of a beautiful lake.

A romantic ode to the full moon sung in the typical tonada style of Venezuela.

This is a lively guaracha from Cuba celebrating the beauty and splendor of the Zun Zún, the world’s smallest bird, which is a species of hummingbird native to Cuba. 

The best way to round out your child’s Spanish language education is to incorporate as many real-life opportunities to enjoy the Spanish language, such as sing-alongs, while also providing a structured Spanish curriculum.

Visit the Llamitas Spanish Curriculum Shop and check out our Spanish curriculum for young children, rooted in authentic music and traditional songs as well as visual components that help kids learn Spanish fast. 

Llamitas Spanish curriculum mockup including the textbook and curriculum box


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