Monday, April 20, 2009

Elijah Wald's "Polka Contrabandista"

In this article, Wald discusses corridos, ballads which seem to be a Latin waltz or polka (quite the interesting mix), and their social and political role in communities surrounding the Mexican-American border. I was especially surprised by their significance in the drug trade. Though the songs were ostensibly just about news stories, many of the songs not only mentioned drug trafficking and use but seemed to support it. Apparently some bands would even accept money or equipment from drug lords in exchange for writing a song about that person. This brings in some of the issues we've seen in such genres as rap and metal.

Discussion question: Do you think this type of music inspires violence or crime, like some have suggested rap and metal do? If so, what should be done? Should it be banned or censored, even though it is conveying the truth (more or less) of life for this particular culture?

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