You may have heard Mexican music without even realizing it. Over the years the music of Mexico has gone around the world with international artists covering Mexican songs and, at times, translating them to their language. One of the most famous songs to come out of Mexico is the folk song La Bamba.
There are other songs that you may have heard and know as Mexican but certainly there are others where you can't say the same. One of the most famous songs to come out of Mexico is La Bamba. This song is really a traditional Mexican folk song which originated from Veracruz. In 1958 it became famous outside Mexico when singer, Ritchie Valens produced a version of that went directly into the Top 40. The song would later be covered by Los Lobos also to great success. It remains popular, even today, and is the only song which is not English that has managed to make it onto the list of the Rolling Stones Top 500 Songs!
Written and performed by Consuelo Vazquez when she was 15 years old, is a bolero that today is considered standard in many artists repertoire. From Michael Bublé to Sammy Davis Jr., many artists have taken on this romantic song laced with innocence and desire (when it was written kissing out of wedlock was considered a sin) as its central themes. This song is recognized as the most sung and recorded song in the Spanish-speaking world—sorry La Bamba.
From Bolero to Rumba; big band to flamenco, this song has demonstrated its universal appeal and ability to continue to sound contemporary.This is another bolero song that has captured the hearts and ears of people the world over. Writen by legendary songwriter Augustin Lara and perfomed by actor/singer Jose Mojica; this song was written as a dedication to Mojica when it became known that he was to become a Franciscan Friar.
Recent versions of this song have been performed by Luis Miguel, Chucho Valdes and Andrea Bocelli. This song has also be sung in English as You belong to my heart by Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley and The Three Tenors. There is also a newer version, written by Janis and Rick Carnes, from 1998 but with lyrics that are different than the original Spanish version. Mariachi classic Cielito Lindo, is a song that has gone around the world as the calling card for Mexicans and Mexico. This song originates from a Spanish copla and was written in 1882.
A copla is a song that comes from a very sentimental form of Andalusian poetry with verses that have the structure of A-B-C-B. With this song, you will feel a certain yearning especially when you hear the strained Ay, Ay, Ay…Canta y no llores. With this love song, everyong can be Mexican for just a few minutes and when the Mariachi trumpet ends you may need a Kleenex to wipe away a tear. A corrido is a ballad-like song that serves to tell stories often dealing with the hard times and struggles of Mexican peasant life. In the early part of the 20th century, before mass media made its way into the social fabric of Mexico, most news and entertainment was communicated in the form of song! The typical Mexican corrido has a structure like this: Introduction—Story—Moral—Farewell. A corrido should not to be confused with a ranchera, since a ranchera is a song for dancing with multiple changes in rhythm.
The Cockroach song is a famous for its many guises—it has been used to great comedic effect in Looney Tunes cartoons as well as music to liven up the crowd at a baseball or basketball game. The song though has evolved so much that its origins aren’t really known, but considering the different versions that exist and the content of the lyrics it is known to originate around the beginnings of the 19th century.
The version that we know today has lyrics that date to the Mexican Revolution in which the cockroach makes reference to President Victoriano Huerta, a known drunk and considered by many to be a traitor and villain. Even today he is known by the nicknames El Chacal (The Jackal) and El Ursurpador (The Ursurper). Mexican music has many more facets and styles that are too broad to be addressed here. As you can see, Mexican music appeals to all of our emotions with rhythmic complexity yet accessible to all reflecting the populist need for information and entertainment. If you decide to explore the offerings of Mexican musical artists and styles, you won't be disappointed for your efforts.