The Black music from the Oaxaca coast is immediately associated with three genres, the corrido, the chilena and the merequetengue, all of which are common rhythms (listen to la chilena “silencio corazón, y el merequetengue “el poquilín” from the repertoire of the workshop found on this website). El corrido or ballad, narrates an occurrence which is notable and often tragic. The Spanish relación and romance are its literary ancestors ( Gabriel Saldivar, Historia de la Música en México. Ed. Facsimilar, Gobierno del Estado de México 1980: 229-244). For decades the histories of important events for the communities were sung in corridos. These sung stories tended to extol the machismo of the characters involved in the violent, heroic and humorous events that transpired. (Gabriel Moedano Navarro, Atención pongan señores…. El corrido afromexicano de la costa chica”, Serie de la fonoteca no.38, INAH, CON.ACULTA, 2000:7).

La chilena is a Chilean musical genre known in Latin America by the name of cueca. This dance rhythm arrived by sea on the South Pacific coast of Mexico during the first decades of the 19C. La chilena retains many similarities of the original in dance and rhythm. Rhythmically the 6/8 can be written in the pattern (1/4,1/8,1/8,1/4) with accents in the first and fourth beat (played on the cajón or rectangular drum) and combined with measures on 3/4. The dance is a tap dance performed on a wooden platform or trough (carved out tree trunk), where couples, direct one another´s movement with a handkerchief held in the hand and imitating a rooster and hens courtship “dance”. La chilena has couplets of four repeated verses and choruses, in which there might also be interludes with humorous recitations performed as a duel between men and women (Thomas Stanford, El son mexicano, col. Sep 80, FCE, 1984:38-43; Carlos Ruíz Rodriguez, Versos, música y baile de artesa de la costa chica. San Nicolás guerrero y El Ciruelo, Oaxaca. El Colegio de México CONACULTA, 2004).Read More