The corrido is a traditional Mexican song form that tells a story, similar to a ballad. Tales of heroes set to waltz and polka rhythms performed by small acoustic bandas became popular during the Mexican Revolution in the early 20th century. Often corridos would include subtle social commentaries woven into the stories of great war heroes. When the genre moved north with migrating Mexicans, its topics shifted to focus on heroes who stood up against racial prejudice and injustice in North America.
Corridos have historically been most popular in the American southwest where they have adapted to changing political issues. They became prominent during the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and then subsided until a resurgence in the 1970s when the San Jose-based group Los Tigres del Norte began to include modern corridos about drug smuggling. Los Tigres’ rebellious “narco-corridos” were controversial, but by the end of the 20th century their corridos, along with those of other groups, came to focus more on political injustice and the plight of Mexican immigrants.
*More information about Corridos can be found at http://corridos.org/. A site developed by Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.