Corridos are narrative ballads in Spanish, a much-loved form in popular song among Mexicans and the Spanish-speaking populations of the Southwestern US. (Note to gringos: If Johnny Cash had been Mexican, he would have sung corridos).

One of the most interesting aspects of corridos is that, since they're very formulaic, they allowe the singers to compose songs very quickly after an important local or national event.

The form goes back to the pre-literate culture, when the news were spread by troubadours and other singers (Note to gringos: If Public Enemy had been olden-days minstrels in a Spanish-speaking area, they would have sung corridos). Merely days after September 11, for example, a “Corrido de Bin Laden” was doing the rounds on Napster.

To editorialize on the peculiar situation brought about by the new Arizona immigration law, San Pablo folk group Los Cenzontles has just released a topical corrido called “El Corrido de Arizona” or “Estado de Verguenza” (“State of Shame”).

Listen (note to gringos: subtitles included!):

BONUS TRACK: “El Corrido de Bin Laden”

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