|Ballads are songs that tell stories. They are a form of oral literature, often put to music and passed from generation to generation.
[PHOTO BY MOLLY MCGUIRE]
Maria Elizondo makes quinceañera doll clothing for the dolls given on a Mexican girl’s 15th birthday.
While ballads may be based on real-life events, they are often fictionalized and romanticized accounts of history and biography. Ballads, in different cultures and languages, have their own aesthetic patterns and styles.
Migration from Mexico to Iowa has taken place during the first World War, following World War II, and most significantly during the past twenty years. Just as Norwegian old-time music and Czech polkas have been part of Iowa’s culture, the folk music of Mexico, or la musica folklorica de Mexico, has also become a part of the culture of the state’s residents.
There are numerous traditional Latino performing groups found in Hispanic communities in Iowa today. One of the strongest is the duo of Eugenio Solis and Adalberto Solis from West Liberty. In this lesson, students will hear a sample of their music to understand some of the poetic qualities of Mexican folk music. Las Tres Mujeres (The Three Women) is a corrido, and a good example of a folk song from Mexico.
A corrido is a ballad, or a song that tells a story. The singing of corridos became popular during Mexico’s Revolution, and many corridos comment on heroes and outlaws of the time period.
This corrido is a tragedy speaking of failed romance and loss of life, on the order of Romeo and Juliet. If local standards preclude its inclusion, you can skip the lyrics and concentrate on general musical style.