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Corridos: Songs of Mexican American Resistance and Cultural Pride

Across the Southwest, a distinctive musical form known as the corrido arose among Mexican Americans.

Corridos were fast-paced ballads that told culturally significant stories. To the sound of a guitar or a bajo sexto, a twelve-string guitar popular in the Southwest, corridos recounted epic events and retold the story of the cultural conflicts between Anglos and Mexican Americans. Many corridos commemorate Robin Hood-like valientes—men of courage—and "bandidos" who resisted Anglo authority.

Corridos not only provide a graphic record of the injustices that Mexican American suffered—including land loss, cattle and horse theft, and lynchings—but also celebrated outlaws who stood up to defend the honor of the Mexican American community.

Questions to consider:

1. Describe the functions that corridos serve.

2. The ballad tradition survives among Mexican Americans even as it has declined among most other groups of Americans. Why do you think story-telling ballads have disappeared among most Americans?

Copyright Digital History 2021