Popular Costa Rican Musicians the World Needs to Know

Music is good for the soul
Music is good for the soul | © Larry Ziffle/Flickr
Jenn Parker

There is a lot of musical talent coming out of Costa Rica these days. All music genres seem to be represented here. If you are looking to see some live music from some of Costa Rica’s more contemporary bands, then San Jose is your best bet. However, sometimes there are smaller, local performances at bars and makeshift music venues in the coastal towns, like Tamarindo or Jaco. While some bands are relatively unknown outside of Costa Rica, there are some that are making international waves.

Passiflora

Passiflora is a gypsy-folk band formed in 2011 by Mariana Echeverria after she shared some of her songs with her best friends, Christine and Tanya Raine. Echeverria is one incredibly talented and passionate musician with a truly unique and beautiful voice. Now the band also includes Martha Palacio, Joel Fernandez, Manuel Mora Fairén, and Hector Morales. Passiflora performs songs in English, Spanish, and French. If there is one band that you need to check out from Costa Rica, Passiflora is it.

Cocofunka

Cocofunka is a band that is absolutely adored in Costa Rica. All of its members were originally playing in different bands around San Jose before they came together to form Cocofunka in 2008. Their music is a blend of psychedelic funk, blues, reggae, and rock. Cocofunka has toured throughout Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, and Mexico. In 2013, they played at the C.B.G.B. Music Festival in New York. Get ready to groove when you put on Cocofunka. The essence of Cocofunka is Costa Rica, and with three albums, there is a lot of Cocofunka to listen to.

Los Waldners

Los Waldners were an instant hit in Latin America after they released their first album, Eclipse Total del Corazón in 2014. This indie pop band is fresh and catchy. The four-piece band is producing some fantastic songs with insightful lyrics and soulful beats. They are one of the top bands right now in San Jose and one that is definitely worth checking out. They have two albums and both are great.

Las Robertas

Las Robertas are locally and internationally recognized and loved. The garage rock trio has two amazing albums, Cry Out Loud and Waves of the Day. They have toured all over Europe and play at festivals around the world. They also play quite often when in Costa Rica. This well-known and very talented band doesn’t seem to be slowing down, but instead are evolving and continuing to produce new music that fans, new and old, can’t get enough of.

Vos y Los Fenomenos

Vos y Los Fenomenos is part of the experimental genre and are made up of two masterminds, José Saenz and Orlando Diaz. It is hard to describe what makes this band so special other than it’s because they are so different from all of the rest. There is a flowy, dancey-trance vibe to their music. It kind of just grabs you and holds on. It is undeniable, though, that this duo is very talented and a musical force to be reckoned with. You can find their music on Bandcamp.

Niño Koi

Niño Koi is an instrumental rock band. They don’t fit into any existing mold of rock; they aren’t punk rock, or even emo, they are their own category. They are a band without a singer, but words don’t seem all too necessary within their music. While the four-man band went through some turbulent times, they are back and stronger than ever. In 2017, they released a 12-minute song called “Nigredo” that has the makings of an entire album.

Debi Nova

Debi Nova is a singer-songwriter from Costa Rica who has performed with big name artists like the Black Eyed Peas, Sean Paul, and Ricky Martin. She splits her time between California and Costa Rica. She has been involved in multiple different projects, many of which have been Grammy nominated. This talented artist is truly making a name for herself on an international level.

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