Project Exploring the Musical Art and History Of Corridos Culminates In Book And CDs

Nuestros Corridos: Latinos in Idaho, Idaho Latino History through Song and Word, 1863-2013 has just been released by Mujeres Unidas de Idaho. The unique project, long in the making, was a labor of love for project director Ana Maria Navárez-Schachtell of Boise, and funded in large part by the Idaho Humanities Council over several years. Published in a bilingual edition, Nuestros Corridos feature two CDs (27 corridos) and an illustrated spiral-bound book, edited by Navárez-Schachtel and Kathleen Rubinow Hodges, with all the words to the corridos and the interpretive text in both Spanish and English.

Corridos are songs that explore “news of the day.” For many, a traditional corrido is a ballad, or “a song that tells a story with a message,” according to Errol Jones, BSU Professor Emeritus of Latin American history, who wrote a Foreword to the book. But many Mexican and Mexican-American communities interpret the purpose of corridos differently. “Naturally, since so many Mexicans are immigrants themselves or come from immigrant families,” Jones writes, “the theme of immigration is a popular corrido topic.”

Navárez-Schachtell met musician and composer Juan Manuel Barco in 2006 at a Latino Arts and Culture conference in Portland, and, with the help of an IHC grant, brought him to Boise for a series of “how-to” corrido workshops, where he taught a number of prospective corrido writers from across southern Idaho the tradition of the Mexican corrido. After the workshops, Navárez-Schachtell organized public concerts where the workshop participants shared their newly written corridos. Following the concerts, Navárez-Schachtell set to having the corridos professionally recorded.

Nuestros Corridos is an outstanding project that preserves traditions, educates the public about Idaho Latino history and culture, and stands as a model humanities project.

For more information or to purchase a copy of Nuestros Corridos: Latinos in Idaho, contact: Dulce/Sweet Events & Consulting, P.O. Box 8252, Boise, Idaho 83707, or email project director Ana Maria Navárez-Schachtel at anamascha@gmail.com.