Guatemala may be more famous for its Mayan ruins and dramatic volcanic landscape than its music, but the scene here is quickly evolving and thriving. Rebeca Lane, the trailblazing feminist rapper, has already put Guatemala on the international radar, but many local bands are doing the same. Here are eight Guatemalan bands you need to listen to.
A amalgamation of alternative rock and dreamy pop influences, Fraaek’s music is packed with power and nostalgia, and their otherworldly aesthetic lends itself perfectly to their use of synthesisers. Performing extensively throughout Guatemala City, the band released their debut LP last year and have worked with Brad Weber, the drummer from Caribou.
Bohemia Suburbana are a Guatemalan alternative rock band formed in 1992. They’ve performed across the world and have shared stages with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Incubus, Molotov and Matisyahu, with several Latin Grammy Award nominations under their belt. Made up of Giovanni Pinzón on vocals, Álvaro Rodríguez on guitar and keyboard, Juancarlos Barrios on guitar, José Pedro Mollinedo on drums and Josué García on bass, Bohemia Surburbana are one of the most famous Guatemalan bands.
This Guatemala City-based band are certainly unique: working around the idea that they’re a darker, more emo version of Adonis, the Greek god of beauty, the quintet have a powerfully atmospheric sound. These experienced musicians have been an influential presence on the country’s alt-rock scene, and their atmospheric, arrestingly gloomy sound beautifully utilizes double-bass and experimental syncopated rhythms.
Easy Easy’s sound is pure and fresh – a merging of r&b and indie rock that can be startling if you aren’t aware they’re from this small Central American country. A good representation of the modern Guatemalan and Latin American indie scene, Easy Easy’s first album album Todo Lo Que Te Digo Está Mal was a hit in 2015, and the next record is scheduled to drop this year.
Malacates Trebol Shop are a Guatemalan rock-pop Latino band known for their innovative sound. The band’s varied musical style has led to them performing in Latin America, Europe and the USA, and they’ve recorded five albums, the most notable of which is Paquetecuetes. In 2007, Malacates were nominated as Guatemala’s best band by Los Premios Principales in Spain, a music event arranged by 40 of the most popular radio stations.
Fans of synth-pop definitely need to check out Dinosaur 88, an outstanding musical project combining drums, synthesizers and electronic arrangements. Listening to this group’s debut album is like falling into a video game… in a good way!
Just like Fraaek, Filoxera has an ambient, trippy sound to their music, with meaningful and melancholy lyrics sung in both Spanish and English. Latin rhythms and beats also feature heavily in their sound, and their second LP is now available.
For something totally different, there’s Treateth, a melodic death metal band. Formed in Guatemala City in 2007 by brothers Marco and Erick Orozco, and originally called Hostilis of Mort, Treateth didn’t really kick off until a year later when vocalist Linda Orellana joined the band. Treateth have so far released one EP, five singles and one studio album.