The corrido is a popular Mexican song form found in the repertoires of groups who perform in the small-group, folk-based conjunto and norteño styles, although it's especially preferred in the latter (other popular song forms in these styles include the ranchera, cumbia, and bolero). Corridos are storytelling ballads (in the folk-music sense of the word) that are usually performed to waltz (or sometimes polka) rhythms, and whose subject matter often (though certainly not exclusively) focuses on heroes and great deeds, usually providing social commentary in the process. The exact details of what constitutes a hero or a great deed have shifted over time along with Mexican culture: when the corrido first became popular in the early part of the 20th century, around the time of the Mexican Revolution, it naturally gravitated toward war heroes. During the middle of the century, corridos tended to glorify rebellious spirits defiant of white America, and became one of the most popular song forms in northern Mexico and among Latinos living in Texas and the American Southwest. That popularity only increased with the advent of the civil rights movement during the '60s, although when that furor died down toward the end of the decade, many American conjunto groups de-emphasized the corrido in their repertoires. During the '70s, however, the Mexican group Los Tigres del Norte broke new ground when they began recording corridos dedicated to drug smuggling and illegal border crossings. This approach became wildly popular -- and controversial -- through the '90s, although other groups, Los Tigres included, took a more socially conscious route and addressed political injustice and problems faced by Mexican immigrants to the U.S.
Other Styles in Mexican Traditions