Corrido (Mexican folk) for beginnners (like me!)
Wanna hear about a great use of your tax dollars at work? To try to discourage Mexican immigrants from illegally coming to the U.S.A., Homeland Security paid an ad agency to make an album of corrido music which included songs about the terrible things that happen in illegal border crossings. The album actually became a hit and they're planning to do another album of this music. You can hear it here.
Right now, I'm shamelessly hooked on this album: the sweet, plaintive vocals with nice harmonies, the jaunty, bouncy beat and the accordion flourishes are all just irresistible. But I also hear this record is a bad example of corrido music so I'm trying to find some better selections.
Among other online digging I've done, one good source I've found is Last FM, where I accesed a corrido station. So far, the best I've come up with is Los Morros Del Norte. These two aren't bad either: El Porto De Sinaloa and Los Tucanes De Tijuana (love their outfits and 'stashes- see photo above). And this guy's just plain weird: El Tigrillo Palma. As far as I know, no swine flu songs from these bands yet. And is it just me or does some of this great music sound like Doug Sahm or Los Lobos?
For any world music experts and Mexican music fans out there, are there other groups or compilations I should check out for good corrido music? Maybe there's a good album from one of the artists I mentioned above? Please share your info in the comments here. Thanks in advance, music fans!
Just please don't ask me to pronounce anything. As my SXSW running buddies can attest, my Spanish is sadly comical. I'm such a sad gringo...
UPDATE: Twitter smartie Alex Sherman correctly points out that corrido is a type of song and not a style per se. Also had a link to a good related site: Super Sonido (The Latin American culture reverb). Another recommendation he has is for this great band: Los Tigres del Norte
Plus... writer/author/blogger Ed Ward has some good recommendations too:
Arhoolie has tons of corridos out. One great collection is the soundtrack to Les Blank's film Chulas Fronteras, and there's also a collection called Tejano Roots. He's also got a killer best-of by Los Pinguinos del Norte, which includes the essential early narcocorrido"Contraband y Traicion," which I used to play on the jukebox in my fave Mexican place in SF back in the '70s. Elijah Wald also wrote a book on narcocorridos which was excellent and curated a CD from it which has all kinds of stuff, from Los Pinguinos to shit with beatboxes. Flaco Jiminez's stuff on Arhoolie also has a lot of good corridos mixed in with the polkas, including the famous "El Mojado Sin Licensia," the wetback without papers, which was a gargantuan hit.