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“Los Músicos”: Mexican Corridos, the Aural Border, and the Evocative Musical Renderings of Transnational Youth


In this research article, Cati V. de los Ríos examines US-Mexican transnational youths' engagement with the Mexican musical genre corridos, border folk ballads, and its subgenre, narcocorridos, folk ballads that illuminate elements of the drug trade and often glamorize drug cartels. She draws from ethnographic methods to present empirical knowledge of four young musicians' critical readings of these genres and their place-making and community-binding practices across their public high school. She demonstrates how these transnational youth draw from their communicative practices to construct meaningful communities on their school campus and details how their evocative musical school performances serve as a cultural resistance to contemporary anti-migrant sentiments. Rather than positioning youth consumption of narcocorridos as simply a “deviant” activity, the findings argue that youth engage critically, intellectually, and aesthetically with narcocorridos as a popular culture practice and that some songs carry important transnational critiques and lessons on capitalism, state-sanctioned violence, and globalization.

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