Regional styles of Mexican music

This article is about a per-region overview of music in Mexico. For the music radio format, see Regional Mexican.

Regional styles of Mexican music vary greatly vary from state to state. Norteño, banda, duranguense, Mexican Son music and other Mexican country music genres are often known as regional Mexican music because each state produces different musical sounds and lyrics.

Baja California
is well known for música norteña (northern music) that incorporates modern rock and cumbia into its music. Norteño.
has produced many marimba bands and artists, such as Marimbas de Chiapas. Chiapas has its own "son" tradition (son chiapaneco), often played on the marimba. Mexican waltzes are also particularly popular here.
norteño is unique in that it uses the saxophone in addition to the usual accordion, and thus has two lead instruments. Zacatecas norteño is similar to norteña chihuahuense.
is widely famous for its many duranguense (Durangan) bands. Duranguense bands are basically considered música norteña, but uses brass and wind instruments instead of guitars and accordions. Duranguense bands are often called Banda … or Los … de Durango.
has its own traditional "son" tradition, known as "Son Guerrerense", which has a violin lead, with guitar and percussion for the rhythm section. The son music from Tierra Caliente is very closely related to this. "Gustos" are another very popular song form here, and these are played at half-tempo (in relation to the sones). Violinist Juan Reynoso is a renowned interpreter of the music from this region.
Many musical bands sound comes from Norteño music by way of Michoacán, yet also the rich folk music tradition of this backcountry mountaneous state informs original compositions (ex. Modesta Ayala). The Jaripeo is a most powerful influence on Guerrero banda music today. Jaripeos are the popular local musical bullriding events featuring young bullriders, a 12+ piece brass band, cattle hands, rodeo announcer, dancing, clowns, families, kids, village officials, and drunks. Top Bandas in northern Guerrero are Autoridad de la Sierra, La Banda Dominguera, Los Indomables. Typical professional village bands would be Santa Cecilia (Axixintla) and La Rancherita (Tecalpulco)
In every town and city in Guerrero, musicians play for money. An old blind fiddler led by a grandson, or a trio with two guitars and an accordion. The music coming up from the rocky valleys of mineral Guerrero deriving from Spanish ballads with a heavy frontier admixture. Still today rural musiscans gather for all-night stylized musical jam sessions of "bolas" and "corridos". These are both folk verse renditions of traditional vocal and guitar expressions. The musical trios that proliferate in the streets and popular markets of Guerrero perform songs of venerable composition.
"With both western and prehispanic musical heritage, emerges a sonorous phenomenon transcendental for America. This had and has a significance of great importance for the development of the villages. With the ferocious and pitiless conquest, takes place a combination of rape by force and home invasion generating new structures. In the case of band music, a group of instruments or a combination of metals, percussions, woods…" [1]
"One of the most extended genres of America and especially in Mexico is the corrido; whats more it is the county where its diffusion reaches surprising ranges…" "In Guerrero and particularly in the zone of Zapatista influence[2] Michoacán, Morelos, State of Mexico, Puebla, Oaxaca, the corrido reaches creative dimensions without comparison in the mexican popular lyric. Work that is awaiting the specialists."
The Son Jalisciense is the most traditional and representative style of folk music of the mariachi tradition. El Son de la Negra is one of the pieces more representative. In the 1990s, bands such as Banda Machos, and Banda Maguey popularized techno-banda. These bands were the music for the popular dance quebradita.
Mexico City
Danzon is a Cuban style of music which also developed in Mexico City (in El Salón México) and Veracruz. It is comparable to tango for its elegance and complex structure. Cha-cha-cha is also an important style which was played a lot in the past century, it was very popular in Mexican films. Mambo, created by Cachao López in 1938 in Cuba, derives from Cuban style of music called rumba and was popularized by Perez Prado in Mexico City where he lived from 1948 to 1989. Mexican bolero also originated in Mexico City, one of the most important Bolero singers is Agustín Lara.
is recognized for Huichol music, the most notable band being El Venado Azul. Nayarit Huichol bands often play traditional ranchero and corrido songs with unique homemade violins and guitars.
Nuevo León
norteño bands resemble traditional norteño tejano (Texan norteño) somewhat more closely than other norteño bands due to Nuevo León's proximity to the southwestern American state of Texas.
has a musical tradition/style known as Son Istmeño, which is a continuation of the son folk tradition found throughout Mexico (as well as Cuba and Puerto Rico). It has very strong indigenous roots, and the songs are sung in both the Zapotec language as well as Spanish; the rhythms are often indigenous as well, while the basic melodic/harmonic structure is Spanish. The song "La Llorona" is an example of a son istmeño. Marimba ensembles are also found here.
Oaxaca also has many traditional Brass Bands, sometimes called Tambora Oaxaqueña, the music is very similar to the Balkan Music, and it is believed that they are both from the same roots. Bakanic composer, Goran Bregovic, made concerts in Mexico, with bands from Oaxaca.
is widely famous for banda, or Mexican big band music. Sinaloa was where the musical genre originated. Bandas play a wide variety of songs, include rancheras, boleros, and cumbias. Bandas often adapt songs from other duranguense and norteño bands. Sinaloa also has produced famous norteño artists, such as El Chapo de Sinaloa, and El Veloz de Sinaloa.
norteño is similar to Nuevo León norteño. It also has Huapango (also known as Son Huasteco) music.
has a unique style in music, it is called Son Jarocho and it is played with some guitar-like instruments called "Jaranas". Recently the harp forms an important part of Son Jarocho. I Grupo Mono Blanco are a very influential band. In the capital Danzon is very popular and it is performed in the street. In the north of Veracruz Huapango (also known as Son Huasteco) music is more popular. Boleros are also very important in Veracruz.
has its own musical traditions, one in particular known as "musica/danza jarana." Although the jarana is the main/central instrument in a typical ensemble, other kinds of guitars are utilized. The local music generally includes both very strong Spanish and indigenous influences as well as, to an extent, Caribbean influences. Vocal harmonies also contribute to the trademark sound of Yucatán. "Son Yucateco", the traditional son music of the region, was also probably an influence on the Cuban-born bolero, and there is a strong connection between the music of Yucatán, Mexico and the music of Cuba. Boleros and "musica trova", a Cuban musical tradition, also have a very important place in musica Yucateca.
Bandas in Zacatecas play what it is known as "Tamborazo Zacatecano", the bands are formed with a drum and wind instruments. A notable band is La Banda Jerez. Also, Zacatecas norteño closely resembles that of Chihuahua norteño because of saxophone-accordion duets in their music.


  1. "La música de Guerrero del surco a la guitarra, conjuro y memorial" (709 pg.) by Isaias Alanís published September 2005 by Guerrero State Secretary of Rural Development Fondo Editorial: Ojas de Amate is only the first volume of three volumes about Music in Guerrero, so rich is the regional musical tradition.
  2. This refers to General Emiliano Zapata, the peasant leader in the Mexican Revolution of 19101920.

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