This month, the bilingual LA/Mexico-City based “alternative ranchero” band the Mexican Standoff released a new song and music video, “El Corrido de la Caravana”, that is not only a fun and lively son ranchero, but a gut-grabbing story that all Americans should see. Using up-close and personal video shot by the Border Angles organization and animated maps, the video traces the path of Guatemalan migrants escaping violence, poverty, and persecution in Central America by walking and hitching through Mexico since 2018.
The music is ranchero style, the music developed in rural Mexican rancheros that is popular along the US-Mexico border and in Mexican diasporic communities. It is a fast-paced, lively two-step dance music featuring accordions, rhythm guitars and sometimes horns and tells stories of daily life in the ranch and rural Mexico. It is also a corrido, the Mexican musical tradition of songs that tell stories of wars, love, heroes, heroines, criminals, and life.
The band wrote the song to honor their stories and to celebrate their hopes and dreams. The video is a compilation of incredible footage of the migrants’ experiences, gathered by volunteers of Border Angels, a non-profit organization that assists immigrants on the road with water and other necessities and help them on a path to citizenship by providing free and low-cost legal assistance, and encouraging English language education and a comprehensive understanding of American culture The end result is a powerful video showing the migrants’ struggles and palpable hope.
The Mexican Standoff slows the beat way down about halfway through the song as one of the men in the band “translates” the video by explaining verbally the migration and what the videos we are seeing mean in a larger context, all in the rhythm of the song.
The members of The Mexican Standoff are accomplished musicians and producers in their own right. Among their credits, Grammy Nominations for Kanye West and best rock solo vocal album, songs for Ricky Martin and JLO, performances and tours with artists such as Julieta Venegas, Ximena Sariñana, Gloria Estefan, Los Abandoned, and produced bands like Las Cafeteras, Buyepongo and Sin Color.
The Mexican Standoff https://www.facebook.com/themexstandoff/
“El Corrido de la Caravana”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdDFnNt1Hd8
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