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Lesson

Estoy Aquí: Music of the Chicano Movement
Corridos: Music as Storytelling and Historical Record
Estoy Aquí: Music of the Chicano Movement / Corridos: Music as Storytelling and Historical Record

Corridos are narrative ballads that have been sung in Mexico and along the Mexico-US border for over 150 years. They are based on epic stories of real people and events. Corridos have been written about tragedies, battles, deaths . . . even elections! During the Chicano movement, corridos became a way for musicians to document historic events as they unfolded. Today, you are invited to learn about important Chicano movement leader Reies López Tijerina through the corridos that have been written about him. After learning about the structural characteristics of corridos in general, you can use this song form to compose your own musical stories.

Lesson Components & Learning Objectives

  1. Cultural/Historical Context of the Corrido

    • Identify common purposes and defining characteristics of corridos.
    • Approx. 30–45 minutes
  2. Exploring Instrumentation and Musical Elements

    • Identify the ways in which composers used musical elements (e.g., time, harmony, timbre, and structure) to create music (corridos) that conveyed expressive intent and served a particular purpose.
    • 30–45 minutes
  3. Composing Corridos

    • Document their personal musical ideas by composing song lyrics “in the style of” a corrido.
    • Approx. 30 minutes

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Bibliography

Text

Alviso, R. (2011). What is a corrido? Musical analysis and narrative. Studies in Latin American Popular Culture, 29, 58–79.

Hernández, G. E. (1996). The Mexican revolution: Corridos about the heroes and events 1910–1920 and beyond! [Liner notes]. Arhoolie Records.

Gonzalez, H. (2010). A decade of young corridistas. Arizona Public Media.

Lamadrid, E. (2010). Roberto Martínez and his new Mexican mariachi: A transnational legacy. Smithsonian Folkways Magazine.

Leger, J. (1993). Lo mejor de los reyes de Albuquerque. [Liner notes]. Minority Owned Record Enterprises.

Loza, S. (2019). Barrio harmonics: Essays on Chicano/Latino music. UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press.

Montoya, M. (2016). The Chicano movement for beginners. For Beginner Books.

Peña, M. (1982). Folksong and social change: Two corridos as interpretive sources. Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, 13(1-2), 13–42.

Rosales, F. A. (1996). Chicano! The history of the Mexican American civil rights movement. Arte Público Press.

Strachwitz, C. (1994). Corridos & tragedias de la frontera. [Liner notes]. Arhoolie Records.

Zettler, J. (2009). Corridos of the Chicano movement, by Rumel Fuentes. [Liner notes]. Arhoolie Records.

Audio

Fuentes, R. (2009). El corrido de Reies Lopez Tijerina [Audio recording]. On Corridos of the Chicano movement [Album]. Arhoolie Records.

Los Reyes de Albuquerque (1993). El corrido de Río Arriba [Audio recording]. On Lo mejor de Los Reyes de Albuquerque [Album]. Minority Owned Record Enterprises.

Martínez, L., & Rocha, P. (1996). Rendición de Pancho Villa [Audio recording]. On The Mexican revolution: Corridos about the heroes and events 1910–1920 and beyond! [Album]. Arhoolie Records.

Los Perros del Pueblo Nuevo (2009). Corrido de César Chávez [Audio recording]. On Rolas de Aztlán: Songs of the Chicano movement [Album]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. From ¡Viva César Chávez!, cassette, 1994. Courtesy of Los Perros del Pueblo Nuevo.

Gregorio y María (1968). Corrido de Martin Luther King [Audio recording]. On Ballads & corridos (1949–1975) [Album]. Arhoolie Records.

Video

Next America (2015, October 23). How to write a Mexican corrido. [Video]. YouTube.

Images

Rosenhouse, I. (1956). Mexican corridos [Cover art]. Folkways Records, New York, NY. Cover illustration by Norman Granz, FW06913.

Pope, W. (1994). Corridos & tragedias de la frontera [Cover art]. Arhoolie Records, El Cerrito, CA, ARH07019.

Pope, W. (1996). The Mexican Revolution: Corridos about the heroes and events 1910–1920 and beyond! [Cover art]. Arhoolie Records, El Cerrito, CA. Photograph by E. C. Aultman, ARH07041.

Dodge, M. (2005). Corridos de la frontera, by Los Pingüinos del Norte [Cover art]. Arhoolie Records, El Cerrito, CA. Photograph by Chris Strachwitz, 1970, ARH09051.

Rojas, J. (2009). Ballads & corridos (1949-1975) [Cover art]. Arhoolie Records, El Cerrito, CA. Album design by Wayne Pope, cover painting by Josue Rojas, ARH00367.

Strachwitz, C. (1972). Rumel Fuentes [Photograph]. In Corridos of the Chicano movement [Liner notes], p. 1. Arhoolie Records, El Cerrito, CA, ARH00507.

Russell, G. (n.d.). Roberto Martínez [Photograph]. In El rey de Albuquerque: Roberto Martínez and his New Mexican mariachi, a transnational legacy [Online article], by Enrique Lamadrid. Smithsonian Folkways Magazine, Winter 2010. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Washington, DC.

Unknown maker (n.d.). U.S. Mexico border [Map]. United States Geographical Survey, Washington, DC.

Castillo, O. R. (1972). José Angel Gutiérrez, Reies López Tijerina, and Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez at the national convention of the Raza Unida Party [Photograph]. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment, 2013.51.12.

Freedman, J. (1968, printed 2017). Resurrection city: Untitled [Photograph]. In Activism at Resurrection City collection [Archival collection]. National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 2017.81.18.

Martinez, E. (1967). Tierra o muerte [Screenprint]. National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC., 1990.0654.01.

Unknown artist (n.d.). Viva la revolucion [Poster]. National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Credit, John A. Armendariz, 296849.36.

Acosta, M. (1969). César Chávez [Oil on canvas]. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Gift of Time Magazine, NPG.78.TC298.

Karsh, Y. (1962). Martin Luther King, Jr. [Photograph]. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Gift of Estrellita Karsh in memory of Yousuf Karsh, NPG.2012.77.63.

Hohner (ca. 2009). Hohner Corona II accordion signed by Flaco Jiménez [Musical instrument]. National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Gift of Gilbert Reyes, Jr., 2015.0079.01.

Unknown artist (n.d.). Book clipart [Clipart]. Clipart Library.