Traditional / folk music of Mexico
Mexico has one of the most diverse traditional musical culture in the world or at least in Latin America. The number of genres and folk music artists are huge. Before colonial area, Aztecs were dominant for hundreds of years, before Spanish arrive to Mexico. When Spanish Empire started its colonization in Mexico, they wanted to convert Aztec culture of people to their own Catholic culture. They did this process with teaching their own music, songs and instruments. In 1556 some musical books printed in Mexico and they were reputed to be the first books with music printed in the New World. Also slavery imported to Mexico by Spanish people. These African slaves had their own type of folk music. Aztecs also did not lose their own folk music and culture completely. So today the traditional music of Mexico, includes these three dimensions. Aztec folk music, Spanish music and also African roots.
During the 20th century and after that, Mexico had lots of revolutionaries, painters, film-makers, political exiles, musicians. Some important people who had not welcomed in their homeland, moved to Mexico like Leon Trotsky, Luis Bunuel, Perez Prado. Some Mexican artists like Frida Kahlo has been big international symbols in the art and also feminism movements.
The folk music of Mexico, consist of many diverse type of genres. Other than three dimensions which mentioned above there are many other folk genres which came from other part of Latin America like Cuba and Colombia. But Mexicans adopt them to their own type of folk music and bring back something new and creative. As the list of traditional genres are huge, we mention some of them here:
This genre of folk music is in fact, category of folk music in different regions. So each region has its own son. Other Latin countries like Cuba and Venezuela also have son, but they are different from Mexican versions. Son means "sounds". Some notable genres of son in Mexico are Son Jaliscience, Son Jarocho, Los Soneritos, Son chiapaneco, Son Guerrerense, Son Istmeño, Son Huasteco(which also called huapango) and many more. Son Jaliscience is the one which modern mariachi is derived from. Son music in its traditional way was played by vihuela, two violins and a guitarrón (which replaced the harp). Son folk music normally accompanied by a dance.
The genre of folk music traditionally played by an orchestra which included violin, trumpets, a Spanish guitar, vilhuela and guitarron (two types of guitar). The band also wear a special type of cloth named "charro". There are many types of mariachi music and they are very close to ranchera. Traditionally the lyrics was about love, but later mariachi bands added other themes to these folk songs. The origin of the word is not very clear but it is said that it comes from the indigenous name of the wood used to make the dance platform.
This genre of folk music returned to 19th century before revolution. As the population of urban area grew and population start to move to the cities, ranchera also developed. Ranchera music is not just one special rhythm. It is basically uses waltz, polka or bolero. It is a bluesy folk music, less complex than son, whose lyrics speak of hard times, betrayal, and poverty while yearning for the good old days of a simple, safe, rural existence; a distant memory for many.
This genre of folk music is a popular narrative song. They are about tales, daily life, heroes, history, social life,... Corrido became popular in Mexico during Mexican-American War (1840s). Almost all the history of this war can be found in these folk songs. The same as ranchera, corrido does not have special rythem. It can be played with polka, waltz or march. Usually the genre of music which accompanied corrido is depend of the region or the band which plays it.
Canto nuevo or Nueva canción
This genre of music is a music movement started from Chile and Argentina on 50s but then moved to many other Latin American countries. The root of the music comes from folk music of each country but the music is usually about social, political and human rights topics and it was common between the left parties. Some of the most significant musicians of Nueva canción in Mexico is Óscar Chávez, Gabino Palomares.
This genre of folk music originally came from Colombia. Originally cumbia was dance of slaves (afro, Indian and ethnic groups) and rise up from the Atlantic coast part of Colombia. Cumbia has complicated rhythmic shape and the style of dance is designed to recall the shackles worn around the ankles of the slaves. The same as Peru or Argentina who adopted Cumbia, Mexico also adopt its own version of cumbia with its own diversity. For example in northern areas, it plays slower than normal cumbia and also accordion is the main instrument.
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Traditional / folk songs for Mexico
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