Mexican drug ballads? UA presentation discusses 'narcocorridos' - Tucson News Now

Mexican drug ballads? UA presentation discusses 'narcocorridos'

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The University of Arizona's Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry is shedding light on the development of the 'narcocorrido,' also known as a Mexican drug ballad.

The multimedia presentation was held Wednesday, Sept. 21 and featured the genre’s history beginning in the 1920s, and how narcocorridos have changed in the late 20th and 21st centuries.

This type of music is heard on both sides of the U.S. and Mexican border. It's also widely heard and produced throughout Latin America.

Juan Carlos Ramírez-Pimienta, a professor of Spanish at San Diego State University-Imperial Valley, has been studying narcocorridos since the 90's and said a lot of it is heard and produced in the United States.

"In a sense, it's similar to the phenomenon of gangster rap in the African American community," said Ramirez-Pimienta. "Most of the people who listen to gangster rap are not gangsters, but it gives you this fantasy. This 3-minute fantasy where you are very powerful."

Ramírez-Pimienta also discussed how narcocorridos relate to border conflicts, and the U.S.’s war on drugs and immigration policies.

“It is important for our community to understand the history and the popularity of this music genre," said Confluencenter Director Javier Duran in a news release. "Culture does not exist in a vacuum, and what happens in both Mexico and the U.S. has an impact on the borderlands in which we live.”

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