Last week NorteñoBlog noted that, when Los Cuates de Sinaloa were getting popular about a decade ago, Billboard hailed their guitar-based “musica de la sierra” as one of Mexico’s “new sounds” to keep an eye on. In the same milieu were Los Alegres de la Sierra, another family band who, from the looks of my hasty research, never made the jump to a major label but branched out musically just like Los Cuates did, adding members and instruments. Their self-released 2012 album Lagrimas En La Sierra is chipper accordion quartet stuff, new to streaming services, and I’m partial to “No Podrán.”
Similarly chipper and altitudinally minded, Los Alegres del Barranco have released a new single, the corrido “El Chino Piloto” (Hyphy). It’s chock full of fatalistic loneliness and helpful radar-evasion tactics, and its repeated eight-bar melody will dig a six-inch barranco through the middle of your skull.
Also on Hyphy and living “La Vida Alegre” are Los Alcapones de Culiacán, who, if you didn’t get the message, call their new album Desde Culiacán. Somewhat confusingly, they have another album on Hyphy called La Vida Alegre; it’s got pretty much the same track listing, and both albums’ recordings sound the same. A rip-off, you complain? Presumably when you’re “Pistear y Pistear” you don’t notice such things. I can’t fault them too much, though, since they have such a great band name. Chi-town represent!
Aaaaaand our final Hyphy band is Grupo Fernández, who’ve just released as a single their four-and-a-half-minute corrido “La Fuga del Dorian,” from last year’s album of the same name. It features verses from both Regulo Caro and the late Ariel Camacho, both of whom burn up song and video with charisma. Camacho gets in some nice requinto fills, too. I know Ariel Camacho shows up a lot at NorteñoBlog, but nobody can touch his unique voice and gravitas. Pick to Click!
June 2, 2015 at 10:20 pm
I only have 2 favorite Norteno Bands/Artists . . Chalino Sanchez and Los Alegres del Barranco. my 2 favorite songs are Desilucion by Chalino and Los Principios by Los Alegres del Barranco. I like a mix of romantic songs and bien ratchetera/street corridos. LADB just have that special talent of creating songs that paint a vivid picture in your head without all the over the top nonsense that Movimiento Alterado artists and even Gerardo Ortiz sometimes fall into. their lyrics hold weight, they put thought into it, you rarely hear them singing about chopping off heads or how many bazookas they carry and I thank god they don’t dress up in those ridiculous military themed costumes or camo for performances like other artists. pavel is a beast on the accordion, he knows exactly how to compliment the songs, always playing a fleeting note that is brief but works so perfectly with his voice and the rest of his bandmates. have you listened to Las 2 Fincas? great song about drug trafficking except it doesn’t outright mention drug trafficking except for innuendo. I’ll play some Gerardo Ortiz from time to time but for me LADB are timeless.
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June 3, 2015 at 11:02 am
“Las 2 Fincas” seems pretty anti-government too, right? Which, I guess if somebody’s singing from the cartels’ point of view, they WOULD sound anti-government. And correct me if I’m wrong, but that seems like another common corrido theme, hailing the cartel as the patrons of the common people while the government is out-of-touch: authoritarian at worst, or at best, simply ineffective at responding to the people’s needs. Which is why people started the autodefensas, which I only learned about from Noel Torres’s “El Cambio” — so the people can fight the cartels without having to appeal to the government.
Good song! I also listened to “Los Principios” and I can hear what you’re saying about Pavel’s accordion. Since we both know the Ortiz album, what do you think of the accordion on there? To me Marito sounds more over-the-top virtuosic, taking over the songs rather than, as you say about Pavel, complementing them. And I’m curious about your reaction to Alterado songs. (That movimiento seems to be fading anyway, from what I can tell.) Do you object to the lyrics about bazookas and severed heads because they’re immoral, or they don’t work artistically, or something else?
June 3, 2015 at 11:08 am
(I mean, you made it pretty clear you don’t like Alterado lyrics because they don’t sound like the artists put any thought into them, but I’m wondering if you have moral objections as well.)
June 3, 2015 at 12:18 pm
I do like some songs from El Komander. the first time I heard graphic lyrics like what Movimiento Alterado is known for, I thought woah, you don’t really hear that from more established artists like Los Tucanes or Los Tigres. by the 100th time it gets kinda old, the novelty wears off and it seems like they just beat you over the head with their lyrics. I don’t object to it morally, I just find it a little too much sometimes. like “yes i get it you’re gonna rip off my head and shit down my throat” now do you want this like on your video or no?! i think this is one of the reasons why MA seems to be fading in popularity (except for El Komander).
I like Gerardo Ortiz, and the accordion player is great, but I just prefer Pavel’s style.