Ethnomusicology and Latin America

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¡Corrido!: The Living Ballad of Mexico's Western Coast

John Holmes McDowell
Photographs by Patricia Glushko

The present compilation of ballads from the Mexican states of Guerrero and Oaxaca documents one of the world’s great traditions of heroic song, a tradition that has thrived continuously for the last hundred years. The 107 corridos presented here, gathered during ethnographic research over a period of twenty-five years in settlements on Mexico’s Costa Chica and Costa Grande, offer a window into the ethos of heroism among the cultures of Mexico's southwestern coast, a region that has been plagued by recurrent cycles of violence.

John Holmes McDowell presents a richly annotated field collection of corridos, accompanied by musical scores and transcriptions and translations of lyrics. In addition to his interpretation of the corridos’ depiction of violence and masculinity, McDowell situates the songs in historical and performance contexts, illuminating the Afro-mestizo influence in this distinctive population.


John Holmes McDowell is a professor of folklore and ethnomusicology at Indiana University. Among his earlier books is Poetry and Violence: The Ballad Tradition of Mexico’s Costa Chica.


“The University of New Mexico Press returns with another stunning songbook, this one focusing on the musical traditions of Mexico’s Costa Chica and Costa Grande region.”


¡Ask a Mexican!

“The largest and most comprehensive anthology of corridos from the states of Guerrero and Oaxaca. ( ¡Corrido!) is an invaluable contribution to Mexican music scholarship and a welcome reminder that this form of balladry has flourished in many different regions and not only in those that are closer to the US-Mexico border.”


Ethnomusicology Review

7 x 10 in. 456 pages 50 halftones, 70 figs., 1 map