Title: Alan Lomax and Americo Paredes discuss corridos in Texas, Arizona, and Mexico (part 2)
Date recorded: 1965
Date recorded: 1965
Subject(s): Corridos (Music)
Physical form: Reel to Reel
Tape number: T1791
Track Number: 3
Archive ID: T1791c
Belongs to: Paredes/Lomax, 1965
Note: Americo Paredes: Corridos descended from Spanish romances, formerly sung only by men. Initially existing alongside the corrido was the decima, in which men try to top each other with improvised verses for hours to prove manliness. Cultural distinctiveness of corridos from south Texas and the border region of the lower Rio Grande, a port of entry for Creole (Andalusian, not African) influences from Cuba. Alan Lomax: What does the term Mexican culture entail, given its diversity? Paredes: Spanish element is relatively uniform with variations and different from continental Spain (cf. United States and Britain). Vicente Mendoza's theories of origin of corrido. Kansas trail corrido also found in Mexican interior. Like Anglo-American collectors searching for Child ballads, first collectors searched for connections with the Spanish romancero. Menendez Pidal traced all that could be found. Favorite songs reflect patterns of the culture. Most famous romance both in Spain and all over Latin America was La Delgadina, about incest, comparable in popularity to Barbara Allen, which occurs thousands of times more often than other ballads. Another famous song is "El hijo desobediente," which contains a father's curse, the "bury me on the prairie," and willing of possessions. Big theme of the culture is parent-child relations. Father and oldest brother had tremendous authority. Father had to give permission before adult sons could smoke or drink in his presence. Marriages arranged, father could horsewhip sons. Women had little authority unless very strong willed, "masculine." Corrido hero Cortina was whipped by mother for taking a second wife after becoming a general in the liberal army in Mexico. Only defense for son was to build a house far away. Eldest brother acted as father's regent. Wifebeating frowned on. Significance of high-pitched corrido vocal style. Carries in outdoor setting and denotes not melancholy but intensity. Sounds plaintive but is intended to sound masculine.Two singers sing together heads thrown back, watching each other, effect of truculence. Supposed to show emotion, perhaps resentment. Alan Lomax: The high lonesome style symbolizes centralized authority and extreme repression of feelings before father or king. Likewise the hopelessness of the lover before the high wall of difference between men and women's lives - the voice of empathy. The solo singer of our culture is the voice of progress but also represents loss of ability to sing together. We sing in ragged unison, if at all (until the coming of Peter Seeger). Frank Sinatra as blood brother to singer of Turkish court singer (with some Negro influences). Passive audience listens and goes into a dream at his behest. Songs of disdain (also common in southern Italy). Attitudes toward girl who has illegitimate child. She is disgraced. Man suffers no penalty. In contrast, in Bulgaria the girl would experience some disgrace but the whole village would be on her side. Not forced to become a prostitute. Bulgarian girls sing in superb ringing voice with decorative throat throbs. Girls sing together. Danger of violent eruption at dances in Mexican communities. Children's songs and custom of asking three times for hand of bride.
Rights: The rights to the audio, photographic, and video materials contained within the Lomax Digital Archive are administered by various publishers, record labels, collectors, estates, and other rights holders. Any uses, commercial or not, must be cleared by the specific rights holders. For questions regarding the use of any material on the LDA, please contact Permissions.
About the session: Alan Lomax and folklorist Americo Paredes discuss corridos in Texas, Arizona, and Mexico.
Do you have something to add, or do you see an error in this record? We'd love to hear from you.