Canción Ranchera

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Canción Ranchera

Canción Ranchera, a Mexican variation of the Spanish canción (song) brought to America during the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries and popularized in the 1940s and 1950s by such Mexican matinee idols as Jorge Negrete and Pedro Infante. It is commonly sung by mariachi groups, the conjunto, the dueto, the trío, and the country singer. It is a genre associated with the rural, agricultural worker—ranchera means "from the ranches," or "from the countryside." A rural working-class dialect of Spanish commonly characterizes the lyrics. Frequent themes include unrequited love, abandonment by a lover, and unfaithful women. The brokenhearted lover, mostly male but not always, narrates a tale of woe regarding a love affair gone awry and the subsequent drinking sprees the spurned lover undertakes to ease the pain. The genre has also become popular in the United States. Well-known canción ranchera composers include Tomás Méndez, José Alfredo Jiménez, and Cuco Sánchez.

See alsoBolero; Infante, Pedro; Music: Popular Music and Dance; Negrete, Jorge.


Vicente T. Mendoza, La canción mexicana: Ensayo de clasificación y antropología (1982).

María Herrera-Sobek, Northward Bound: The Mexican Immigrant Experience in Ballad and Song (1993).

Additional Bibliography

Broyles-González, Yolanda. Lydia Mendoza's Life in Music: Norteño Tejano Legacies = La historia de Lydia Mendoza. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Peña, Manuel H. Música Tejana: The Cultural Economy of Artistic Transformation. College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 1999.

Pedelty, Mark. Musical Ritual in Mexico City: From the Aztec to NAFTA. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2004.

                                     MarÍa Herrera-Sobek