views updated


Corrido, a type of song presented by a traveling storyteller, narrating a lengthy tale of heroic or tragic deeds, noteworthy events, and interesting (often satirical) anecdotes. Although the corrido has Spanish antecedents and developed in various Latin American nations, it is most closely associated with northern Mexico and its frontier, where it may have appeared as early as the seventeenth century. During the 1800s it was commonly used as a vehicle for the lampoon of public figures and for the description of technological progress. The revolution against Porfirio Díaz caused an outpouring of corridos that recounted battles, endurance of hardship, feats of bravery, and deeds of treachery. Several leaders had personal corrido singers, such as Pancho Villa's Samuel Lozano, who continued composing after the war.

The standard song was in 2/4 or 3/4 time, with verses of four lines and four beats to the line over which a musical statement of verse length was repeated. The song's content was stated at the beginning, and a finale somewhat formally bade the listener "good-bye." The record industry required that corridos be shortened to fit the length of a 78-rpm disc. Radio and singing stars widely popularized the form, and new songs, such as Victor Cordero's "Juan Charrasqueado" became popular. The widely known "Adelita" is actually a popular song. During the Tlatelolco uprising in 1968, student protests appeared in corrido form, and national competitions in the 1970s helped stimulate its revival. Corridos such as "Gregorio Cortez" are a vital part of Mexican-American culture. Within the past few decades, however, the narcocorrido has become a popular subgenre, often portraying drug traffickers as social bandits.

See alsoMusic: Popular Music and Dance .


See listing under "Mexico" in New Grove Dictionary of Music (1980), and record series, "Corrido," released by Arhoolie, with extensive notes.

Additional Bibliography

Valenzuela Arce, José Manuel. Jefe de Jefes: Corridos y narcocultura en México. Barcelona: Plaza & Janés Editores, 2002.

Wald, Elijah. Narcocorrido: A Journey into the Music of Drugs, Guns, and Guerrillas. New York: Rayo, 2001.

                                              Guy Bensusan