Surprisingly, Spaniards did not know much about the Hispanic Music (aka Latin Music in the Anglo countries) until a few decades ago.
Antonio Machin in the 40’s and 50’s and, several decades later, Celia Cruz and Ruben Blades did not prepare Spain for La Lambada of the Bolivian Los Kjarkas in the 80’s and the Dominican Juan Luis Guerra in the 90’s. They took the dancing floors of the nation by storm. Yes, the lyrics were in Spanish and they were easy and colourful but Spaniards just did not know how to dance to the sensuality and physicality of the new syncopated rhythms. For those having lived in the Americas, dancers in parties and concerts were embarrasing to watch for the most part.
A few priviledged Spanish musicians with unusual talent tried the crossover, and succeeded, before the masses even knew what was coming. Santiago Auseron went to Cuba and came back with the most brilliant collection of songs of sones and other sounds. Ketama mixed salsa and flamenco with inspiring results.
Since then, every mainstream musician tries to add some tropical sounds to his/her repertoire. They usually confuse voluptuosity with singing very loud and energetically. Masses of immigrants from all over America brought the reggaton and hip hop to Spain in the early years of the new century.
Interest for the Latin music was renewed by a film director, Fernando Trueba, who shot a documentary about Carlinhos Brown, El milagro de Candeal, in Brazil.