Norteño Accordion Sound

diatonic accordionThe sound of the accordion in Norteño music accompanies songs from an ample repertoire. Rancheras, corridos, baladas, polkas, cumbias, huapangos, and chotis all include the melodic sounds of the diatonic scale produced with an accordion. Contemporary young Mexican musicians, coming from genres such as alternative rock, electro-pop, and hip hop, have been incorporating the accordion sounds in their productions with very interesting and pleasant results. After listening to the live performances of Julieta Venegas and El Gran Silencio last Saturday, I am curious to hear more of the recent Mexican bands who are using the accordion in their arrangements.

Although I was familiar with the hip hop tracks that El Gran Silencio, a band from Monterrey, had produced in collaboration with Celso Piña, I did not have an idea of the variety of styles that they have explored in their music. They have crafted a very unique sound that mixes cumbia, hip hop, ska, and rock. I enjoyed very much, and danced to their performance, and especially found very impressive the work of the accordionist, who was able to play and fit the accordion sound into all the different music styles. Below is the music video of their Chúntaro Style song.

Julieta Venegas and her band also took me by surprise. Their performance was also very engaging and their music arrangements beautiful. Although Julieta and another member of her band alternated to play the accordion, the sound of the instrument was sometimes mixed in a soft and nice way as a  melodic layer in the background, feeling almost as a chorus, an accompaniment which colored the tone of the different songs. Other times, the accordion melody was brought to the foreground, carrying melancholic and happy melodies. Julieta Venegas’ variety of styles was also pretty rich, going from pop to cumbias to rancheras to polkas. Bellow is the link to the video of her song Me Voy, performed at the Auditorio Nacional in 2011.

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