April 19, 2002

Smithsonian Folkways Recordings Releases ‘Heroes and Horses: Corridos From the Arizona-Sonora Borderlands’

Smithsonian Folkways Recordings has recently released ‘Heroes and Horses: Corridos from the Arizona-Sonora Borderlands.’ Corridos - the Spanish work translates loosely as “ballads” - are story songs that tell tales of revolution, crime, heroic showdowns, horse races, and disasters. The Arizona-Sonora Borderlands is an arid 120,000 square-mile region straddling Arizona and California. It also encompasses most of Baja California and the western half of Sonora, Mexico. Divided politically by the Gadsen Purchase of 1853, this unique region is unified by its Mexican folk culture. All of the musicians on this album are local to the area and central to the cultural life of their community, working day jobs in agriculture, mining, and commerce.

Corridos have been an important part of Mexican folk literature since the late 19th century; they continue to play a vital role in reflecting and shaping public opinion. ‘Heroes and Horses’ is a slice of life from the Arizona-Sonora border as it has been lived and memorialized in corridos over the course of the 20th century. Rich with the folk traditions of Northern Mexico, these balladeers are usually accompanied by little more than a guitar and an accordion. Tales of triumph and tragedy fill this collection and bring the Arizona-Sonora Borderlands to life.

‘Heroes and Horses’ is being released to coincide with the Smithsonians’ traveling exhibition ‘Corridos sin Fronteras: A New World Ballad Tradition,’ which kicked off in Washington, D.C. in February 2002 and will continue on to other major markets through 2005. There are 16 tracks, 71 minutes of music, extensive notes, photos, and complete lyrics in Spanish and English. Produced by Jim Griffith, formerly with the Southwest Folklore Center of the University of Arizona Library. The center is a cosponsor of the cd.

For more information visit the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings web site at www.folkways.si.edu.

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