Size doesn’t matter, and Uruguay, one of the tiniest South American nations, is the living proof. With a thriving rock and pop scene since the sixties, it’s definitely worth checking out some of the local artists while you’re here.
A sampler of Uruguay rock and pop
Dark rockers who inspire a loyal following. Singer Pedro Dalton is a multimedia artist and poet in the vein of Tom Waits. You are more likely to catch a live show of their down-sized alter ego, Dos Daltons. Nidal is their latest album.
Mandrake Wolf y los Terapeutas
Composer of great songs including the huge hit “Amor Profundo”, owner of a kind of stringy voice, Mandrake gives a great live show when he’s in the mood. He’s been around for years but Uruguayan twenty-somethings just love him.
Rock royalty here though he’s never been particularly prolific. Aligned with the rioplatense electro-tango Bajofondo project, his composition “El Mareo” was nominated for a Latin Grammy for best alternative song. The album Bajofondo presenta Santullo was awarded a Uruguayan Grammy (the Graffitis) in 2009 in the electronic music category. Intense live shows.
4 pesos de propina
A semi-anarchical music project emerging from hippie summers in Rocha, 4 pesos now packs major venues in Montevideo. Their name translates as “a four peso tip”.
With nine albums to her credit, Samantha has a stunning voice, great tunes and a wicked sense of humour which really comes over live.
Fede Graña y Los Prolijos
Swept the boards of the 2014 Graffitis winning best song, best pop album and best cover art with their rock/polka/funk.
One of the first bands to promote and sell their albums solely online. Live, I love their great art work and visuals and the furious harmonica. Can you feel the Wilco influence?
Though she’s been singing professionally for more than a decade and worked with some of Uruguay’s most well-known musicians as a backing vocalist, Lu is still yet to record her own album. A singer to keep your eye on.
More about rock and pop in Uruguay
A potted history of rock in Uruguay
The 12 Best Uruguyan Artists and Bands To Know from The Culture Trip is a good introduction to some of Uruguay’s most important musicians since the 60s
Uruguay at the 2014 SXSW music festival for three years in a row, “Sounds of Uruguay” was one of the most unexpected stages
Getting in the groove in Montevideo: Discover Uruguay’s capital city through its live music scene Austin American-Statesman (USA)
5 albums from Uruguay you MUST listen to
All articles on Music from Guru’Guay
Want to plan to see live music when you are in Uruguay?
Montevideo has an amazing live music scene, incredible for a city of 1.5 million. But it’s not easy to find good information to be able to make a choice, especially if you are unfamiliar with the bands and don’t speak the lingo.
The Guru’Guay Guide to Montevideo has four entire pages of recommended bands to see live (in 8 genres – tango, carnival fusion, candombe, percussion, Latin, rock and pop, folk and roots and instrumental) and four pages on live music venues, including instructions on how to contact the venues, make reservations in Spanish etc.
Plus check out the Guru’s daily recommendations on the Guru’Guay Facebook page. Posted daily around midday.
Photo: Montecruz Foto (of Uruguayan band 4 Pesos de Propina)
Of course, as mentioned in the title, this is just a sample. Feel free to add your recommendation below and ideally describe them a bit. Cheers.