Getting my Spanish on

10 Dec

“A mi me gustan los corridos por que son los hechos reales de nuestro pueblo.”

~ Los Tigres del Norte

In preparation for my Honduran hiatus, I’ve started listening to a LOT of music sung in Spanish. I’ve had a couple of long drives recently and I’ve been putting my All-Latino-Tunes-All-The-Time playlist on repeat.

I find it’s a great way to get my brain back into the swing (pardon the pun) of being surrounded by Spanish. I do a weekly Spanish class and there’s a noticeable difference in my skill levels when I’ve been obsessively listening to my Spanish songs, compared to when I haven’t.

Particularly useful are ballads or more traditional music where the Spanish is sung at a steady, slow pace. While I do enjoy listening to some Latino hip hop and pop artists, I often find the rate too fast for me to comprehend fully what’s being sung.

Luckily for me I have a huge number of traditional ballads (called ‘corridos’ in Spanish) in my music library. I actually wrote an Honours thesis in 2006 on the Mexican ‘narcocorrido’ (drug ballad).

Part of my research involved collecting a range of corridos and narcocorridos to analyse, so I certainly have plenty. My thesis covered music by Los Tigres del Norte, Los Tucanes de Tijuana, and Grupo Exterminador, just to name a few.

The only problem is that the actual style of music corridos are sung to isn’t necessarily the most hippest or happening. In fact, it could be considered positively daggy.

Here’s a YouTube clip of one of the most well known Los Tigres del Norte songs, ‘Jefe de Jefes’ so you can get an idea of what I’m talking about:

Okay, so I’m not exactly the coolest kid on the block when I’m listening to this stuff, but I can definitely understand the lyrics.

The other weekend, when driving around in Sydney, I pulled up at the traffic lights next to a hotted up car emitting high-volume ‘doof doof’ music. Not to be outdone, I turned my stereo volume up and let the accordion stylings of Los Tigres blare out the window.

I don’t think the two young lads in the kitted out car knew what to make of it all really, but it certainly gave me a laugh.

What did you think? Would you be happy to listen to corridos for three hours straight?


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