imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Narcocorrido: A Journey into the Music of Drugs, Guns, and Guerrillas

by Elijah Wald Saturday, Oct. 06, 2007 at 4:37 PM

Narcocorrido: A Journey into the Music of Drugs, Guns, and Guerrillas, available in both English and Spanish editions from Rayo, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishing. 2002 Latino Book Award winner as "Best Arts Book"

Narcocorrido: A Jour...
narcocov.jpgzkyacq.jpg, image/jpeg, 200x303

A very interesting book!!!!

This is the first full-length exploration of the contemporary Mexican corrido, blended with a travel narrative and digressions on Mexican and Mexican immigrant culture. The corrido is one of the most popular music styles in the Latino market, both in the US and points south. While the Anglo media pretends that the boom in Latin music sales is driven by salsa (a style that is wonderful, but currently not very popular in the Latino community), most US Latin sales are of Mexican music, and a large proportion of these are drug trafficking ballads, played in polka or waltz rhythms by accordion combos or full brass bands. Many of these ballads are in the classic Medieval style, and they are an anachronistic link between the earliest European poetic traditions and the world of crack cocaine and gangsta rap.

Narcocorrido is a series of visits with corridistas, from the most popular narco writers to rural singers documenting current events in their communities. It was researched over roughly a year, traveling all over Mexico and the southwestern US, largely by hitchhiking. I went up into the drug trafficking regions, searched out the foremost composers in their homes, and listened to every cassette the truck drivers threw on their tape decks. This book should be available from all better bookstores, but if your local store can't get it for you, you can buy it online by clicking this link for the hardcover, or here for the paperback

"Through the stories of the corrido-crafters themselves, Wald uncovers a world desperate for heroes. At once tragic and hopeful, the result of his journey holds a mirror up to life on both sides of the border."

--Louie Perez, of Los Lobos

"Narcocorrido is more than an exposé of a musical genre and a contemporary problem, it is a journey into the complex nuances of Mexican social and cultural history. Wald's book is a most significant contribution to the bibliography on travel literature by foreign observers to Mexico since colonial times. It will be of interest to a wide range of specialists in diverse fields, as well as to the casual reader who will enjoy the pleasure of a rich narrative of adventure and detective work."

--Guillermo E. Hernández, Ph.D., Director of the UCLA-Chicano Studies Research Center

Further quotations

There was a companion CD for the book issued by Fonovisa, with tracks by Los Tigres del Norte, Chalino Sánchez, Luis y Julián, Grupo Exterminador, Jenni Rivera, Pedro Rivera, Los Hermanos Jiménez, El Canelo y los Dos del Sitio, and Los Pajaritos del Sur. Unfortunately, it went out of print when Fonovisa merged with Univision, but copies may still turn up, andlyrics to all but one of the songs are on my corrido cd lyrics page.

Here is a precis of the book:

Section One: Corrido Renaissance explores the rise of the narcocorrido in the early 1970s, with the groundbreaking hits of Los Tigres del Norte, the dominant band in the field for the last 30 years. Los Tigres are kind of a Mexican equivalent of the Rolling Stones and Willie Nelson combined, the biggest "roots music" stars on the scene. Their albums sell in the millions, and their concerts can draw upwards of 100,000 screaming fans.

1. The Father of Camelia: Angel González is a visit with the composer of "Contrabando y Traición," the saga of a marijuana smuggler known as "Camelia la Tejana," which started the narcocorrido boom.

2. El Maestro: Paulino Vargas (pictured right) introduces the most influential writer in the narcocorrido world, an earthy poet who has been documenting the Mexican underworld for over thirty years. Paulino is also a wonderfully entertaining character, and was accordionist for one of the defining norteño groups, Los Broncos de Reynosa. (for hi-res copy of photo, click here)

Section Two: The Sinaloan Sound Sinaloa is the heartland of Mexico’s drug traffickers, and is the seat of the current narcocorrido mainstream. The birthplace of Los Tigres and hundreds of other artists, it is also the home of banda, or pop brass band music.

3. Sinaloan Legends: Narcoculture, Violence and Jesús Malverde explores the Sinaloan milieu, with a not to the narco-intellectuals and artists of Culiacán, and a visit to the chapel of Jesús Malverde, patron saint of the drug traffic.

4. El Valiente: Chalino Sánchez (pictured left) traces the life and legend of the toughest corridista of them all, who has become the dominant influence on the young West Coast singers. Chalino was a supreme badass, who shot to international fame after a show in Southern California during which a guy tried to assasinate him and he returned fire from the stage. Shortly thereafter, he was gunned down in Sinaloa, but his immitators are still heard from Mazatlán to Los Angeles. This chapter includes a visit to Pepe Cabrera, a Sinaloan corridista who has been one of the great behind-the-scenes influences in the field.

5. Chalinitos: El As de la Sierra (pictured right) explores the "Chalinito" craze, and meets with El As de la Sierra, the most successful of the Sinaloan-based narco stars, along with his bodyguards.

6. Badiraguato is a brief trip up into the heart of the drug region, to visit Antonio Uriarte, a local songwriter and record producer. (His most famous group, El Canelo de Sinaloa y Los Dos del Sitio, features two acoustic guitars and tuba.)

7. New Generation: Mario Quintero y los Tucanes de Tijuana is a visit with the most popular young band on the scene, the group that upped the ante for drug songs by singing not only about brave traffickers, but also about cocaine parties. Mario defends his paeans to famous drug lords, and explains the populist roots of the trend.

Section Three: El Otro Lado travels north of the border, to see what is happening in the United States.

8. The Clown Prince: Francisco Quintero visits "El Vampiro," composer of comic narco songs like "Las Monjitas." ("The Little Nuns," about a pair of women traffickers who disguise themselves as nuns and their cocaine as powdered milk for an orphanage in Phoenix.)

9. Gangsta Corrido Dynasty: The Rivera Family The first family of Los Angeles, the Riveras have ruled the local corrido scene ever since patriarch Pedro Rivera signed Chalino to his Cintas Acuario record label. Now, Pedro writes topical corridos about subjects like the Rodney King riots and the Gulf War, while his kids, Lupillo, Jenni and Juan, lead the "gangsta" wing of the corrido trend, cutting the heaviest drug songs in the corrido world for an audience of Chicanos who grew up on rap and hip-hop.

10. Cage of Gold: Enrique Franco travels to Tijuana to meet the man who brought a conscience to the modern corrido world, writing hits for Los Tigres that explored the immigrant experience, pan-Latino unity, and human rights issues.

11. The Political Circus: Jesse Armenta moves to Phoenix and the composer of Los Tigres’ hardest-hitting new political songs, including "El Circo," a satiric ballad of the Salinas presidency which became one of the group’s biggest hits.

Section Four: Norteño Heartland travels to the Texas border region, where most experts believe that the corrido was born.

12. Trucker to Troubadour: Julián Garza is a visit with one of the most entertaining, rowdy, and funny men in the corrido world, and also one of the biggest hitmakers and most traditionally-oriented composers, the writer and lead voice of the duo Luis y Julián.

12b. A web special--this chapter was deleted from the published book, but a version can be read online by clicking here. Titled Reynaldo Martinez and the Balladeers of the Border, it includes interviews with three corridistas from Reynosa: Martinez, Beto Quintanilla, and Juan Villareal. You can read a copy here.

13. Faded Glories: Texas and the Valley explores the question of why the corrido seems to be dying out in the region where it once ruled supreme.

Section Five: Mexico City and Points South is a round-up of what is happening on the fringes of the pop corrido scene, ending with a visit to the most successful composer of all.

14. The Zapatista Minstrel: Andrés Contreras (pictured left) is a rowdy, obscene, and intensely political singer, who travels throughout Mexico singing his revolutionary songs in city plazas, and getting thrown in jail for his trouble. This chapter looks at the topical corrido tradition since the 1960s, with a nod to the nueva canción artists of the urban intelligentsia.

15. Corridos of the Country Buses: Gabriel Villanueva (pictured right) is a visit with an old-fashioned singer who presents his ballads of current events on the buses outside Acapulco, and has sold thousands of cassettes featuring his ballads of Hurricane Pauline and the massacre in Aguas Blancas. (For a hi-res copy of this photo, click here)

16. Guerrilla Corridos: The Mountains of Atoyac roams the region around Atoyac, the stomping grounds of Mexican guerrilla bands ever since the 1970s. Here, amateur singers perform their ballads of government massacres and guerrilla confrontations for small, sometimes clandestine gatherings of local villagers.

17. Norcocorridos Move South: Apatzingán checks out the scene in the drug area of Michoacán, visiting Los Hermanos Jimenez, "the Kings of Harp Music" (pictured right) Chema, a disco bandleader turned corrido composer, and Rafael Alvarez Sánchez, songwriter, corrido hero, and father of some 200 children. (There is also a digression to take in the local Passion Play.)

18. El Jefe de Jefes: Teodoro Bello winds the book up with a visit to Mexico’s top-selling composer, author of "Pacas de a Kilo" (One-Kilo Packages) and hundreds of hits for Los Tigres and just about everybody else in "Mexican regional" music.

Report this post as:

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM


lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Paraphysique de psychosomatique S22 6:58AM

Chuck Grassley: Women Abusing, Animal Murdering, Illegal War Supporting Criminal S22 2:58AM

Finance Capitalism and the Digital Economy S21 4:45PM

Muselières syndicales, muselières patronales S21 7:19AM

Jeff Bezos, Amazon, The Washington Post, Whole Foods, Etc S21 2:50AM

Why Choose Nut Milk Over Cows' Milk S21 1:01AM

Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement S19 9:53AM

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

Paraphysique de contextualité S05 8:29AM

Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism S03 3:39PM

Ex-voto de réification S03 10:24AM

Please Oppose Warmonger, Execution and Torture Supporting Bush Operative Brett Kavanaugh A31 10:45PM

Paraphysique d'exploitation occultation A31 10:24PM

Ryan Zinke Is Charging Taxpayers For A Trophy Hunters' Council A31 2:10PM

Is the Financial Crash 2.0 Coming? A31 10:07AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy