Regional Mexican music is crossing borders and going global. Here’s how it happened


MEXICO CITY (AP) — Regional Mexican music — a popular term that encompasses mariachi, banda, corridos, norteño, sereno and other styles — has become a global phenomenon, topping music charts and crossing borders. Reaching new audiences.

While it has been present in the US for decades selena quintanilla Weaving pop, disco and R&B rhythms from the 80s and 90s into his Tejano music, something extraordinary happened last year.

According to Luminate 2023 year end report, of the six Latin artists to reach 1 billion audio streams in the US, four were Mexican artists: Peso Pluma, Eslabón Armado, Junior H and Fuerza Resida. They were among the top 125 streamed artists. Overall, regional Mexican music grew 60% in the US, accounting for 21.9 billion on-demand audio streams.

How did this happen? The Associated Press caught up with musicians, producers and industry experts to understand the evolution of regional Mexican music before the 66th grammy awards On 4th February.

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Lila Cobo, Billboard’s chief content officer for Latin music coverage, always believed that given the Mexican American population, Mexican music was going to be huge in the US.

“But I never thought in a million years it would become so global,” she says.

For Cobo, one of the factors contributing to the global reach of regional Mexican music is streaming, which democratized listening habits and allowed listeners to fall in love with it who might not otherwise have seen this music.

According to Uriel Weizel, editor in chief of Spotify Mexico, Mexican music on Spotify has grown 400% worldwide in the past five years. And on YouTube, peso pluma Bested Taylor Swift and Bad Bunny on the platform to become the most streamed artists of 2023.

In addition to streaming, Cobo points to a large population of Mexican descent in the US that is interested in exploring the music of their ancestors – and a new generation of musicians adopting the genre, but mixing it with rap, reggaeton, and Mixing it with electronic instrumentation is making it come alive. Process.

“The music was a bit old-fashioned,” says Cobo. “But now I see a movement. And I think that’s exciting.”

Wiesel says that while Mexican music is centuries old, “current Mexican music is breaking through because this is the music that young people listen to.”

Spotify has confirmed that last month, 56% of those listening to Latin American artists were under the age of 30. In Mexico, that number rose to 60%.

“Earlier, parents would teach regional music to their children, but now it is young people who are teaching the music to their parents,” says Danilux, a 19-year-old singer of Sad Sireno, a novelty subgenre that emerged about five years ago. , “The regional music reggaeton is reaching heights never seen before.”

For grammy winning producer edgar barreraTo understand regional Mexican music, listeners must first understand that “it’s a movement” that ultimately has “its moment to shine globally”, as regional Mexican artists now incorporate a variety of styles and sounds.

He cites Grupo Frontera’s cumbias and Paso Pluma’s corridos tumbados, both with very different lyrical approaches: “And they’re doing the same numbers that American artists are doing.”

He says, artists like Frontera, Fuerza Resida and Junior H are “selling out the same places Drake goes to a week later.”

Barrera believes that part of the cross-border appeal is that these regional Mexican styles are established in live instrumental performances – guitar, tuba, trombone, trumpet and more.

“They’re real musicians, they’re people making real music, not some computer where you’re programming or taking something from a sound library,” he says.

regional international

Last summer, at the Premios Juventud awards show in Puerto Rico, Mexican singer-songwriter Carin Leon wore a T-shirt that read “F— Regional”, an apparent reference to the phrase “regional Mexican music”, and later published a manifesto describing various types of Mexican folk music by the term. Was banned.

It is wrong to “label it regional”, he told the AP. “We are not more ‘regional’, we are more ‘international’.”

And it’s not just Mexican artists who are experimenting with this genre. colombian superstar maluma Released a pop-Norteño track titled “Segun Quién” on his 2023 album “Don Juan”, in collaboration with Leon.

Maluma told AP He realized years ago that corridos and banda music were going to enter the global music market. So, he called the producer, Barrera, in 2018 and said: “I need different instruments because I want to start writing Mexican songs, like regional music. He said, ‘Why?’ Let’s keep doing reggaeton,’ and I said, ‘You’ll see!’

Then the sound was everywhere.

“I’m so glad it happened because we really needed it in the industry,” says Maluma. “We were missing that Mexican sauce in the global perspective of Latin music.”

Rocky road to success around the world

It wasn’t that long ago that regional Mexican music was in a tough spot. For some, the music was a matter of a kind of classism, in the same way reggaeton was stigmatized before it became accepted around the world.

Now, a new generation is responsible for refreshing the way we see the world, thanks to singer Pedro Tovar. eslabon armado Hopefully the genre will change from “regional Mexican” to just “Mexican music”.

“For the younger generation of listeners, that’s where the roots are, and the genre is expanding more and more,” he says.

“We started sounding the alarm years ago to say, ‘This genre is dying,'” said Gabriel Abaroa Jr., president of the Latin Recording Academy, in an interview with the AP at the time.

Lucero, a veteran of regional Mexican music, actor and singer, also remembers those days.

“A few years ago, the problem was that regional music was disappearing, and it was becoming harder to sing ranchera songs,” she says. But now that it has started again, he is “very excited”, even if the songs have a mixed approach to the genre.

Although there is no shortage of musical styles to play, young Latin American musicians continue to adopt and experiment with regional Mexican music. They see it as a matter of pride, connection and celebration of their identity.

This is something that 26-year-old Mexican American artist Becky G has accomplished Their latest album, “Esquinas,” which he described as “a love letter to my abuelitos, my younger self and, hopefully, future generations.”

“Ever since I was a kid, I always talked to my grandparents about doing a project inspired entirely by regional Mexican music,” she said.

And performing at a time when regional Mexican music is bigger than ever is something she describes as “a source of pride for us Mexicans.”

24 year old Peso Pluma couldn’t agree more.

“It feels great, hearing all these people from different countries listening and singing my songs, it’s just a dream, man,” he told the AP. 2023 MTV Video Music Awards,

“I’m very grateful for the style that I do,” he said. It is going global and breaking barriers. And I’m grateful to all the people who are supporting Mexican music.

Sherman reported from Los Angeles.

Copyright 2024 The associated Press, All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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