One of my favorite parts about learning Spanish so far has been discovering a world of new music. Thanks to José (one of the employees at the box factory), I’ve been exploring the various Mexican music stations in Portland. (I say Mexican because that’s the audience the stations cater to and the source of most of their music. But Shakira, of course, is not from Mexico.)

In fact, I love one of these stations: 93.5 “éxitos“. (Éxitos means “successes” or, in English, “hits”.) Even if I weren’t trying to learn Spanish, I might listen to this music.

But since I am trying to learn Spanish, this station is even better. I don’t understand everything — not even close — but my comprehension is improving. I could catch maybe 5% of the songs and chatter when I started in June, but now it’s up to 25% (and I certainly get the gist of nearly every song).

My favorite songs are often those in which the singers enunciate. The more I’m able to understand, the better I like the song. For instance, here’s “Te Amo” from Makano.

Some songs, though, are beautiful even when I can’t understand them. “Insensible a Tí” by Alicia Villareal was tough to parse at first (though I know the lyrics now because Aly and I went through them), but I was still moved by it.

I’ve been playing this song over and over and over (una y otra vez) since I first heard it last week.

You may be wondering how I know the names of these songs and artists if I can’t understand everything that’s said. That’s where Shazam comes in. Shazam is an iPhone app that, after listening to a few seconds of a song, can usually identify it for you. (Not always, though.) And after it does, it lets you see lyrics, buy it from iTunes, or add it to a Spotify playlist. In short, it’s like magic.

I look forward to discovering more new Spanish-language music in the future. (And to having Aly help me translate it during our classes. That’s half the fun!)

Bonus! I just discovered that Spotify allows users to share playlists, so here’s a short Spanish playlist. I have a more robust playlist in iTunes at home, but this is a good sampling of the stuff I’m listening to right now.

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