Comparing New World Traditions: Appalachian Balladry And The Mexican Corrido

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Benjamin Duvall-Irwin (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Cecelia Conway

Abstract: This work compares and Appalachian balladry and the Mexican corrido in several ways. First, how both traditions developed in the New World from a shared European ballad tradition, how both regions have been described as cultural borderlands, and the historic and rapidly increasing presence of Mexicans in Appalachia. Second, how their lyrics of femicide seemingly reinforce patriarchal values but can be used by singers to discuss cultural values. Third, how the two traditions have been shaped by conflict to produce oppositional themes and forms; border corridos being shaped by conflict between ethnic groups, and protest songs by Kentucky ballad singers being shaped by class conflict. These conflicts of gender, class, and ethnicity are more often than not inter-related. Finally, how these similarities and continuing in-migration might suggest the incorporation of the corrido into the region’s musical practices. Through examination of ballad text, summary of ballad scholarship, and interviews with North Carolina ballad singers Sheila Kay Adams and Rick Ward I argue that beyond the symbolic uses related to conflict and oppression proclaimed by scholars, ballad singing provides a safe and sometimes discrete way for singers to discuss and interpret cultural values or express personal emotions in ways that words cannot.

Additional Information

Duvall-Irwin, B. (2017). "Comparing New World Traditions: Appalachian Balladry And The Mexican Corrido." Unpublished Master's Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2017
Ballads, Corridos, Appalachian Music, Protest songs, Folksong

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