Latin Music Lesson Part II – Cumbia & Norteño

This week Adrian will give some more insight on Latin music.  This week he looks at Cumbia & Norteño.

Cumbia originated in Colombia but has been widely adopted and loved throughout the Latin music world. Its elements are found in both Samba and Salsa music. The dance steps are in a circular pattern and like most Latin dancing, are related to Swing. Cumbia is probably the most requested genre overall in our area. It seems like it’s the Latin music “common ground”: no matter where people are from, they can all agree on Cumbia!

Here are a couple of classics:

Mi Cucu – La Sonora Dinamita

The immortal “Reyna de la Cumbia” Selena with “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom”, a song that features Rock en Espanol & Reggae influences as well!

Norteño style music is also extremely popular here in the San Francisco and Monterey Bay Areas. It is much more specifically Mexican than Cumbia, which is popular everywhere. The accordion and the bajo sexto (similar to the twelve-string guitar) are the most signature instruments of the genre. The music centers around the corrido (waltz) and polka styles, reflecting the influences of the European immigrants who made northern Mexico and the southwestern United States their homes in the late 1800s. Norteño music also spawned a popular offshoot style called “Tejano” or “Tex-Mex” that incorporates more country and jazz elements and sounds less traditionally Mexican than Norteño.

Here are a couple of Norteño standards:

Ramon Ayala, “The King of the Accordion” with “Rinconcito En El Cielo”

And Los Tigres del Norte (based right here in San Jose, California!) with “La Puerta Negra”

Hope you enjoyed some of the tunes from south of the border.  Check in next week as we explore Banda and Merengue!

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