Living in between two cultures

What’s a corrido?

I used to call corridos Mexican Polka music. I even wrote my college entrance essay on how my father always had these songs playing on the radio while he worked on his car, but my mother loved classic rock. Sometimes I wonder if my ignorance was what cost me admission into my number one UC, but I’m probably just overthinking it.

Anyways so why was I calling Corridos Mexican polka music? In short, because the prominent sound that always came from my dad’s radio was the notes of an accordion. Especially on the long drives to my tia’s house in San Bernadino County. I remember looking out at the car window and imagining myself in a desert, which in California wasn’t so far off. Just to think if I was stranded here, I’d have to listen to this weird accordion music until I got to safety.

Nowadays I have educated myself on the correct term for this kind of music, corridos. I’m still not the biggest fan, but I have developed an ear for cumbias, specifically those played by Los Angeles Azules. Cumbias are meant to be danced sometimes solo but always at quinceaneras. I preferred hosting dance parties alone in my room where only my dog can judge me.

I heard cumbias everywhere growing up during quinceaneras, barbeques, dinners, and while doing housework. Never rock ballads or music in English. Those were reserved for car rides alone with my mother.

Despite the influence of Cumbias, I became a classic rock fan by the age of 11, thanks to my mother. But, thanks to my dad, who loved listening to popular Latin hits such as “La Camisa Negra” and “Gasolina,” I also became a lover of music in my second language. Although I prefer Spanish love songs, preferably sung by Enrique Iglesias, I will on occasion play a Shakira song when I feel like dancing. Now that I’m in college, my musical preferences expanded to include soft rock ballads and some top Latin hits.

In a way my musical taste has become a fusion of both my parent’s radios. Did any of my readers have the similar experiences?