Sunday, May 08, 2005

Narcocorrido, book on corridos, Mexican drug ballads, byElijah Wald

Here is an interesting read. I picked it up in a local book store last week. Tuffy P says, "only you would find the only book in the store with a picture of a button accordion on the cover". The book is eye-opening. The narcocorrido, or Mexican drug ballad, is big business, hugely popular in Mexico and yet, north of the border, with the exception of Mexican California, this music is largely unknown and unavailable. In form, it often uses the traditional norteno instrumentation, driven by button box and bajo sexto, but sometimes it also appears in 'bando' or brass-band based music. Some corridistas write these ballads on a commission basis, to glorify small-time gangsters. Also interesting are parallels to gangsta hip-hop, including gun-fight sound effects. You can find an interview with the author here

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