'The Corrido of LA' project celebrates Mexican Revolution centennial

Image: Gajin Fujita, The Corrido of L.A., 2010
Image: Gajin Fujita, The Corrido of L.A., 2010
Courtesy of Gajin Fujita and LACMA

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Since the 19th century, ballads known as corridos have been used to document events of social and political life. This weekend the band Ozomatli will perform modern-day corridos written by local students.

Ozomatli bassist Wil-dog Abers says the corrido is like a story sung traditionally in either a waltz or ranchera style. Contemporary corridos about the drug cartels of Mexico can be heard often on the radio.

Josh Kun, director of The Popular Music Project at USC Annenberg's The Norman Lear Center, says, "For so long these were so much more than songs, they operated as a kind of underground media system. These were songs that told the truth about Mexican life and Mexican culture, stories that weren't being told in newspapers or other channels."

In celebration of the centennial of the Mexican Revolution, USC and LACMA will host "The Corrido of LA." Students in 7th- through 12th-grades throughout Los Angeles were asked to commemorate the Mexican Revolution by composing a corrido, or ballad song, about the city they call home.

Lyla Matar, an 8th-grader at Highland Hall in Northridge submitted this video of her corrido, titled 'Dreaming of a City.'

You can hear Ozomatli performing "The Corrido of LA" from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18 in LACMA's Bing Theater. Admission is free. Ozomatli will perform a special quincenara concert later that day.

Los Tres Reyes perform a more traditional corrido.