December 14, 2001

Los Tigres del Norte Revolutionize Norteña music

By Pablo De Sainz

During the `90s, the division between two genres of Mexican music, rock en español and norteña music, was obvious. They would never mix.

Especially in Los Angeles, followers of rock en español saw norteños as a bunch of peasants who worked all of their lives in the fields, and the norteños always treated rock-eros as little punk children who had nothing better to do.

Thus, there was always a line dividing the two genres.

Until today.

"El más grande homenaje a Los Tigres del Norte" (Fono-visa, 2001) is an album where rock en español bands pay tribute to the most important norteño group in Mexico and the United States, Los Tigres del Norte.

With this album, falls the barrier that existed between rock-eros and norteños. The lyrics are norteño; the instruments are rockero. The two genres win at the end.

The majority of the songs were radically changed from their original versions, but the accordion can still be heard in some of the songs.

One of the songs that stand out of this rare album is "El circo," performed by Maldita Vecindad. This corrido tells the story of the fiasco that was the presidency of Carlos Salinas de Gortari, always with Maldita's pachuco style.

"America," by El Gran Silencio, is the single that the radio has been promoting in Tijuana and San Diego. The song has a lot of rhythm and El Gran Silencio's accordion resembles the Tigres' original.

Julieta Venegas, the Tijuana singer, sings "La jaula de oro," a song where a Mexican immigrant's experiences in the United States are presented.

Café Tacuba plays with a very cool song titled "Futurismo y tradición," a mix of sounds and samples from Tigres' songs.

Other bands that appear in this tribute include Botellita de Jeréz with corrido "Jefe de jefes;" Molotov with "Ya te velé;' and El Haragán with "Un día a la vez," among others.

But who are Los Tigres del Norte so that many good rock en español bands get together to record an album of such good quality?

A list of titles that Los Tigres have received: The Chiefs of Chiefs, the People's Idols, the Kings of Norteña Music.

Los Tigres revolutionized norteña music with songs that go from narcocorridos to immigrant songs; and from love rancheras to songs of protest.

And Los Tigres' influence is present not only in norteña music, but even rockeros like Fabulosos Cadillacs, Todos tus Muertos, and Caifanes have said that Los Tigres del Norte have influenced their music.

That's why it's no surprise that this album, "El más grande homenaje a Los Tigres del Norte," feels like a very rockero roar.

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