Ask any 15-30 yr-old Latin american folk what Argentina, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Venezuela, Panama, Costa Rica, Paraguay and Colombia have in common and most, if not all, will tell you with absolute certainty that Spanish (yes, the language!) is the only possible link between these very diverse countries, including their people, their history and their culture.
Go back 30 years and ask the same question and, without a doubt, you will get a very different answer: Soda Stereo.
Soda Stereo, led by Gustavo Cerati, were an Argetine rock band that is considered by both, critics and fans, to be the most influential Latin band of all time. Some of their accolades include: over 17 million albums sold in Latin America alone and Cancion Animal their 5th album, ranks #2 in the 250 Best Ibero-American albums of all time list. Just to give you an idea of their popularity, their farewell tour Me Veras Volver (You Will See Me Return) in 2007, saw the largest gathering of any Latin American rock band in history with more than 1 million attendees.
You see, Soda Stereo was the band that made it just at the right time. In the 80s, when they erupted in the rock scene, Latin America was a breeding ground for postmodernism, democracy and social equality movements which helped the latin youth develop an intense emotional relationship with the band, strong enough to trascend nationalities; making Soda Stereo a cohesive expression throughout the region something Rock had not been able to achieve in Spanish-speaking countries due to language barriers.
In 2010, Gustavo Cerati suffered a massive stroke in Caracas, Venezuela while on tour and fell into a coma, ultimately dying on September 4th, 2014.
As we approach the first anniversary of Cerati's death along with a Latin America marked with poverty, corruption, tyranny, chaos and despair we can only wonder when music will reflect, once again, the hope and unity of the beautiful people of Latin America, until then we can only enjoy the legacy and the music of Soda Stereo.