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Norteño or Norteña (Spanish pronunciation: [noɾˈteɲo] , northeren), also música norteña, is a genre of Mexican music from Northern Mexico, hence the name. The music is most often based on a polka or waltz tempo and its lyrics often deal with socially relevant topics. The famous corridos are considered Norteña music. The accordion and the bajo sexto are norteño's most characteristic instruments, but the genre can include brass bands (banda music) as well. Norteña music developed in the late 19th century, as a mixture between German folk music (which was introduced to Mexico with the arrival of German migrant workers in those years), and local Northern Mexican music.
The music of Mexico is very diverse and features a wide range of musical genres and performance styles. It has been influenced by a variety of cultures, most notably the culture of the indigenous peoples of Mexico and Europe. Music was an expression of Mexican nationalism, beginning in the nineteenth century.
Northern Mexico, commonly referred as El Norte, is an informal term for the northern cultural and geographical area in Mexico. Depending on the source, it contains some or all of the states of Baja California, Baja California Sur, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo León, Sinaloa, Sonora and Tamaulipas.
The polka is originally a Czech dance and genre of dance music familiar throughout Europe and the Americas. It originated in the middle of the 19th century in Bohemia, now part of the Czech Republic. The polka remains a popular folk music genre in many European countries, and is performed by folk artists in the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Poland, Slovenia, Switzerland, Croatia and Finland, and to a lesser extent in Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Hungary, Italy, Ukraine, Romania, Belarus, Russia, and Slovakia. Local varieties of this dance are also found in the Nordic countries, Spain's Basque Country, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Latin America and the United States.
The genre is popular in both Mexico and the United States, especially among the Mexican and Mexican-American community, and it has become popular in many Latin American countries as far as Chile and Colombia and in Spain. Though originating from rural areas, norteño is popular in both urban and rural areas.
Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the tenth most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.
Some popular norteño artists include Ramón Ayala, Cornelio Reyna, Intocable, Los Invasores de Nuevo León, Los Cadetes de Linares, Los Alegres de Terán, Los Tigres del Norte, Los Huracanes del Norte, Los Rieleros del Norte, La Leyenda, and Los Tucanes de Tijuana. Local radio stations have continued to be a major influence in popularizing norteño in the Mexican-American community.
Ramón Covarrubias Garza, known by his stage name Ramón Ayala, is a Mexican musician, composer and songwriter of Norteño and Conjunto music. Known as the "King of the Accordion," Ayala has recorded over 113 albums for which he has received four Grammy Awards. Additionally, Ayala has been featured in thirteen movies. A legend of norteño music, Ayala is one of the most recognized and best-selling artists of this genre of Mexican music, breaking many sales records along the way.
Intocable (Untouchable) is an American Tejano music and Norteño musical group from Zapata, Texas that was started by friends Ricardo Javier Muñoz and René Orlando Martínez in the early 1990s. In a few years, Intocable rose to the top of the Tejano and Norteño fields with a musical signature that fused Tejano's robust conjunto and Norteño folk rhythms with a pop balladry. Intocable is perhaps the most influential group in Tejano and their tough Tejano/Norteño fusion has become the blueprint for dozens of Tex-Mex groups. The group's style, which combines romantic, hooky melodies, tight instrumentation and vocal harmony, is consistently imitated by other Tejano and Norteño groups, including Imán, Costumbre, Solido, Estruendo, Intenso, Duelo and Zinzero.
Los Invasores de Nuevo León is a Mexican band founded in 1978, originally as a Norteño quintet. Led by Lalo Mora and Javier Ríos, the group would become very popular on both sides of the Texas-Mexico border during the 80's and 90's. Many of their songs are still played on radio to this day, such as Laurita Garza, Rafael Caro Quintero, Ni Dada La Quiero, La Costumbre, Bajo Mil Llaves, Que Valor De Mujer, Aguanta Corazón, Mi Casa Nueva and La Vieja Banca. Singer Isaías Lucero left for a solo career with EMI Records in 1999. The group's songs have included political themes, and criticism of US involvement in Latin America.
A conjunto norteño is a type of Mexican folk ensemble. It mostly includes diatonic accordion, bajo sexto, electric bass or double bass, and drums, and sometimes saxophone.
Bajo sexto is a Mexican string instrument with 12 strings in 6 double courses. A closely related instrument is the bajo quinto which has 10 strings in 5 double courses.
The double bass, or simply the bass, is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra.
The drum is a member of the percussion group of musical instruments. In the Hornbostel-Sachs classification system, it is a membranophone. Drums consist of at least one membrane, called a drumhead or drum skin, that is stretched over a shell and struck, either directly with the player's hands, or with a percussion mallet, to produce sound. There is usually a resonance head on the underside of the drum, typically tuned to a slightly lower pitch than the top drumhead. Other techniques have been used to cause drums to make sound, such as the thumb roll. Drums are the world's oldest and most ubiquitous musical instruments, and the basic design has remained virtually unchanged for thousands of years.
The norteño repertoire covers canción ranchera, corrido, balada, cumbia, huapango norteño, polka, redova and chotís .
The corrido is a popular narrative song and poetry that form a ballad. The songs are often about oppression, history, daily life for peasants, and other socially relevant topics. It is still a popular form today in Mexico and was widely popular during the Mexican Revolutions of the 20th century. The corrido derives largely from the romance, and in its most known form consists of a salutation from the singer and prologue to the story, the story itself, and a moral and farewell from the singer.
A ballad is a form of verse, often a narrative set to music. Ballads derive from the medieval French chanson balladée or ballade, which were originally "danced songs". Ballads were particularly characteristic of the popular poetry and song of Ireland and Britain from the later medieval period until the 19th century. They were widely used across Europe, and later in Australia, North Africa, North America and South America. Ballads are often 13 lines with an ABABBCBC form, consisting of couplets of rhymed verse, each of 14 syllables. Another common form is ABAB or ABCB repeated, in alternating 8 and 6 syllable lines.
Cumbia[ˈkumbja] is a folkloric rhythm and dance from Colombia. By the 1940s cumbia began spreading from the coast to other parts of Colombia alongside other costeña form of music, like porro and vallenato. Clarinetist Lucho Bermúdez helped bring cumbia into the country's interior. The early spread of cumbia internationally was helped by the number of record companies on the coast. Originally working-class populist music, cumbia was frowned upon by the elites, but as it spread, the class association subsided and cumbia became popular in every sector of society.. The researcher Guillermo Abadía Morales in his "Compendium of Colombian folklore", Volume 3, # 7, published in 1962, states that "this explains the origin in the zambo conjugation of musical air by the fusion of the melancholy indigenous gaita flute or caña de millo, i.e., Tolo or Kuisí, of Kuna or Kogi ethnic groups, respectively, and the cheerful and impetuous resonance from the African drums. The ethnographic council has been symbolized in the different dancing roles that correspond to each sex." The presence of these cultural elements can be appreciated thus:
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Emperor Maximilian I was the first[ dubious ] to bring the music of Middle Europe to México. By 1864 he had accumulated marching bands and musicians to entertain him. When Maximilian's empire was defeated, many of his former army and fellow countrymen fled north and dispersed into what is now the southwestern United States. Norteño music developed from a blending of Mexican and Spanish oral and musical traditions, military brass band instrumentation, and Germanic musical styles such as polka and waltz.
Maximilian I was the only monarch of the Second Mexican Empire. He was a younger brother of the Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I. After a distinguished career in the Austrian Navy as its commander, he accepted an offer by Napoleon III of France to rule Mexico, conditional on a national plebiscite in his favour. France, together with Spain and the United Kingdom, invaded the Mexican Republic in the winter of 1861, ostensibly to collect debts; the Spanish and British both withdrew the following year after negotiating agreements with Mexico's republican government, while France sought to conquer the country. Seeking to legitimize French rule, Napoleon III invited Maximilian to establish a new pro-French Mexican monarchy. With the support of the French army and a group of Conservative Party monarchists hostile to the Liberal Party administration of the new Mexican president, Benito Juárez, Maximilian was offered the position of Emperor of Mexico, which he accepted on 10 April 1864.
The Southwestern United States, also known as the American Southwest, is the informal name for a region of the western United States. Definitions of the region's boundaries vary a great deal and have never been standardized, though many boundaries have been proposed. For example, one definition includes the stretch from the Mojave Desert in California to Carlsbad, New Mexico, and from the Mexico–United States border to the southern areas of Colorado, Utah, and Nevada. The largest metropolitan areas are centered around Phoenix, Las Vegas, Tucson, Albuquerque, and El Paso. Those five metropolitan areas have an estimated total population of more than 9.6 million as of 2017, with nearly 60 percent of them living in the two Arizona cities—Phoenix and Tucson.
The Germanic peoples were an ethnolinguistic group of Northern European origin identified by Roman-era authors as distinct from neighbouring Celtic peoples, and identified in modern scholarship as speakers, at least for the most part, of early Germanic languages.
European immigrants from Germany, Poland, & Czech Republic to northern Mexico and the southwestern United States also brought dance traditions such as the varsovienne. The focus on the accordion in the music of their home countries was integrated into Mexican music, and the instrument is essential in the genre today. It was called norteño because it was most popular in the northern regions of Mexico.
The late 1910s and 1920s were the golden age of the corrido, a form of ballad. Mexicans on both sides of the border came to San Antonio, Texas, to record in hotels. Their songs memorialize the Mexican political revolution of the time. Los Alegres de Terán was among the first norteño bands. Later in the century the genre became more commercial with the works of Los Relámpagos del Norte and other groups. More recent bands such as Intocable integrate elements of rock music and other popular styles.
In the 1950s, the heavy influence of norteño on the traditional music of Mexican-Americans in southern Texas gave rise to a new form of popular music called Tejano or "Tex-Mex". It was influenced by American rock and roll and swing. Tejano music often includes English lyrics and may sound much more like American rock and country music, but is a broad genre incorporating many different styles.
Because Tejano music is derived from norteño, the two are often confused. Tejano is more influenced by American music styles such as country and jazz, while norteño is less Americanized with a rural, traditional sound.
While the saxophone has historically been an optional instrument in traditional norteño music, there have been a number of artists who have used it consistently. Early artists include Los Rancheritos del Topo Chico, Los Gorriones del Topo Chico and Los Montañeses del Álamo. Later artists include Los Rieleros del Norte, Conjunto Primavera, Los Norteños de Ojinaga, Los Jilgueros del Arroyo, Polo Urías y Su Máquina Norteña, Conjunto Azabache, Pepe Tovar y Sus Chacales and Conjunto Río Grande. More recent artists include La Maquinaria Norteña, La Energía Norteña, La Reunión Norteña, La Alianza Norteña, Los Pescadores del Río Conchos, La Fiera de Ojinaga, Conjunto Nube, La Zenda Norteña, Grupo Legítimo, among others. The popularity of Norteño artists who incorporate the saxophone into their instrumental line-up has become so big in recent years, that it has essentially become its own sub-genre.
In recent years, a number of Norteño artists have included a sousaphone to play the bass notes in their music instead of an electric bass or tololoche, thus creating the fusion sub genre of Norteño-Banda, also known as Bandeño. This style includes the likes of artists such as Calibre 50, Voz de Mando, Revólver Cannabis, Colmillo Norteño, Código FN, Los Gfez and Impacto Sinaloense.
A different regional Mexican sub-genre different from Norteño is Sierreño. It was created and popularized in the 1980s and its popularity spread throughout Mexico. There are essentially two types of Sierreño: One from Northwestern Mexico where the main instrument is the acoustic twelve-string guitar, and one from Southwestern Mexico where the main instrument is the acoustic six-string guitar.
Northwestern-style Sierreño includes a acoustic twelve-string guitar which is used for the melody of the music, followed by an acoustic six-string guitar for the harmony and an acoustic or electric bass for the low notes. A different variation is that an accordion and/or saxophone are used for the melody, while the twelve-string or six-string guitar is used for the harmony. The bass can be substituted with a tololoche. Unlike Norteño, Sierreño typically does not include drums. This style includes artists such as Miguel y Miguel, Los Nietos de Sinaloa, Los Alegres de la Sierra, Los Hijos de Barrón, Los Dareyes de la Sierra, Contraste Sierreño, Tercer Elemento, Los Traviezoz de la Zierra and Los Cuates de Sinaloa.
Southwestern-style Sierreño just includes six string guitars. An acoustic one for the melody, followed by one or two acoustic or classical ones for the harmony, and an acoustic or electric bass for the low notes. Artist in this style include ones such as Dueto Bertín y Lalo, Impacto Sierreño, Los Armadillos de la Sierra, Sentimiento Sierreño, Los Benítez de la Sierra, Código de la Sierra and Dueto Dos Rosas.
A variation of both styles of Sierreño is when there is a band with only two members, a duo, in which one member plays the twelve-string or six-string guitar for the melody, while the other plays secondary guitar for the harmony.
Modern norteño has also diverged significantly from more original "oldie" norteño of pre-1950s artists such as Narciso Martínez. Since the 1970s and 1980s, electric bass guitars and a modern drum set have been added.The traditional bajo sexto-accordion style of Los Alegres de Terán and Antonio Aguilar transformed into the modern style typical to that of Los Tigres del Norte, Intocable, Duelo and Los Tucanes De Tijuana. Current songs may feature percussions, saxophone, or an electronic keyboard. In 2014 Los Tigres del Norte released the album Realidades, which contains the song “Era Diferente” (meaning “She Was Different”) about a lesbian teenager who falls in love with her best friend; according to lead singer and songwriter Jorge Hernández, this is the first time a norteño group has ever written a gay love song.
Genres similar to norteño include banda and duranguense. These bands employ mostly brass instruments instead of accordions and guitars, but may perform the same songs. Because many of these band names contain Mexican state names or a general geographical description, such as "de la Sierra", norteño, banda, duranguense, and other similar genres can be classified into a category known as "regional Mexican music."
Norteño has many different regional styles. Norteño in Texas, for example, is likely to be influenced by American music, while artists from Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas may have influences from the Caribbean. Jalisco and Sinaloa have also produced norteña bands, even though the two states are more closely associated with the musical styles of mariachi and banda, respectively. Chihuahua and Zacatecas norteño often combines the saxophone and the accordion. Each norteño band also has its own unique adorno, a musical interlude between lyrics. For example, the adorno of Los Rieleros del Norte is typically a descending scale.
Tejano music or Tex-Mex music is various forms of folk and popular music originating among the Mexican-American populations of Central and Southern Texas. With roots in the late 19th century, it became a music genre with a wider audience in the late 20th century thanks to artists such as Selena, Mazz, La Mafia, La Sombra, Elida Reyna, Elsa García, Laura Canales, Oscar Estrada, Jay Perez, Emilio Navaira, Esteban "Steve" Jordan, Gary Hobbs, Shelly Lares, Stefani Montiel, David Lee Garza, Jennifer Peña, and La Fiebre.
The term conjunto refers to several types of small musical ensembles present in different Latin American musical traditions, mainly in Mexico and Cuba. While Mexican conjuntos play styles such as norteño and tejano, Cuban conjuntos specialize in the son, as well as its derivations such as salsa.
Los Rieleros Del Norte is a Mexican three-time Grammy-nominated band based in Ojinaga Chihuahua.
Los Tigres del Norte is a Mexican norteño band from Mocorito, Sinaloa and based in San Jose, California, United States.
Polo Urías is a norteño-sax singer from Ojinaga, Chihuahua Mexico. He came to prominence when he performed with his brothers’ band, Los Jilgueros del Arroyo. He then left the group to become the primary vocalist of Los Rieleros del Norte. He left that group in 1993 to form his own band, Polo Urías y su Maquina Norteña. Some of his most popular hits are Veinte Años, Una Aventura, and Mi Primer Amor.
Los Relámpagos del Norte was a norteño band formed in the early 1960s by Cornelio Reyna and Ramón Ayala. The band is best known as a duo. Cornelio Reyna was the lead singer and bajo sexto player, while Ramon Ayala was the background vocalist and the accordion player. After successful careers together, Cornelio and Ramon parted ways in the early 1970s. They later reunited in 1996 to record a live album which was successful among their core audience. The duo had plans to record a new album, but Cornelio Reyna died in January 1997.
Banda is a term to designate a style of Mexican music and the musical ensemble in which wind instruments, mostly of brass and percussion, are performed.
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.
Los Huracanes del Norte are a Mexican Norteño group, originally from Yahualica de González Gallo, Jalisco and raised in Tangancícuaro, Michoacán, but based out of San Jose, California, United States. They are one of the genre's most popular performers.
Premio Lo Nuestro 2008 was held on February 21, 2008 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. It was broadcast live by Univision Network.
Regional Mexican Airplay is a record chart published by Billboard magazine. It was established by the magazine on October 8, 1994 with La Niña Fresa by Banda Zeta being the first number-one song on the chart. It features Latin music information from different genres including Mariachi, Norteño, Banda and Duranguense, which are frequently named as Regional Mexican. This chart features only singles or tracks and like most Billboard charts, is based on Airplay; the radio charts are compiled using information tracked by from Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems (BDS), which electronically monitors radio stations in more than 140 markets across the United States. The audience charts cross-reference BDS data with listener information compiled by the Arbitron ratings system to determine the approximate number of audience impressions made for plays in each daypart.
The Grammy Award for Best Norteño Album was an honor presented to recording artists at the 51st, 52nd and 53rd Grammy Awards (2009–2011) for quality norteño music albums. The Grammy Awards, an annual ceremony that was established in 1958 and originally called the Gramophone Awards, are presented by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to "honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position".
Universal Music Latin Entertainment, a division of Universal Music Group (Vivendi), is a record company specialized in producing and distributing Latin Music in Mexico, United States and Puerto Rico. UMLE includes famous Latin music labels such as Universal Music Latino, Fonovisa Records, Universal Music Mexico, Capitol Latin, Machete Music and Disa Records.
Los Alegres de Terán is a Norteño music group from Mexico. They were formed in Nuevo León when Eugenio Abrego and Tomas Ortiz met in a club in the mid 1940s focusing their activities around the area of Monterrey, Reynosa, and finally settling in McAllen, Texas.
Calibre 50 is a Mexican conjunto of norteño music created in the city of Mazatlán, Sinaloa, in the year of 2010. The group is also considered to be "Norteño-Banda", as it features a Tuba to play the bass notes, instead of an electrical bass or a Tololoche, which are more commonly used in Norteño music.