Where the Río Grande and the Río Conchos join, rests a remote oasis in a mountainous desert wilderness of awesome austerity. There the cities of Ojinaga, Chihuahua and the town of Presidio, Texas form the cultural and economic centers of La Junta de los Ríos. As is well-documented in the film The Devil's Swing (Documentary Arts Inc. of Dallas, Tx.), this isolation has helped to preserve not only many customs, traditional rituals, and beliefs but also a ballad tradition of uniquely local focus and origin, a sampling of which can be heard on this CD. Although a few of these corridos (narrative ballads) are also seen in the film, this CD is a complimentary audio document and not the usual "soundtrack." The corridos were recorded mainly on location and memorialize themes such as 19th century cattle drives, border conflicts between Anglos and Mexicans, heroes of the Mexican Revolution, hardships endured by day laborers, and of course the recent tragedies which have resulted from trafficking. Smuggling back and forth across the Mexican-US border used to involve wax, cloth, liquor, guns and ammunition but since the end of prohibition in the early 1930s, the focus has been almost exclusively on drugs declared illegal in the United States. To the local population, which sees Anglo society as rich, insatiable consumers of all kinds of drugs, these traffickers often become Robin Hood like heroes.
1. Corrido De Kiansis - Los Palomares De Ojinaga
2. Jacinto Trevino - Los Palomares De Ojinaga
3. La Tumba De Villa - Los Palomares Del Bravo
4. Los Traficantes Del Bravo - Los Palomares Del Bravo
5. La Tragedia De Ojinaga - Los Tres Amigos
6. Corrido De Fermin Arevalo - Los Suspiros De Ojinaga
7. La Muerte De Fermin Arevalos - Los Jilgueros Del Arroyo
8. El Corrido De Israel Y Guadalupe - Los Luceros De Ojinaga
9. Corrido De Martin El Shorty Lopez - Los Tres Amigos De Isidro Ruiz
10. El Corrido De El Pira Ramirez - Melquiades/Tomas Sevilla/Mariachi Frontera
11. El Zorro De Ojinaga - Los Suspiros De Ojinaga
12. Corrido De Pablo Acosta - Los Palomares Del Bravo
13. El Corrido De Amado Carrillo Fuentes - Tomas Sevilla/Melquiades Sevilla
14. El Arresto De Los Sanchez - Los Jinettes De Odessa
15. El Corrido De Gracielo Gardea - Mariachi Frontera
16. El Corrido De El Kilo - Los Suspiros De Ojinaga
17. El Leon De Le Sierra - Los Palomares De Ojinaga
18. Ejido De Palomas - Carlos Olivas
19. El Corrido De Esequiel Hernandez - Santiago Jimenez Jr./Victor Mermea/Jose Moreno/Amado Banda/Mar...
“When oral tradition quickly slipped away in the 20th century, the art of ballad writing seemed to go with it. Luckily, in isolated spots like La Junta de los Ríos, corridos, or narrative ballads, have continued to thrive. These ballads preserve Texas-Mexican border culture dating from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, documenting everything from cattle drives to modern day drug lords. Vibrant accordion and bright singing enlivens much of The Devil's Swing. Los Palomares De Ojinaga enlists vivid harmony in Corrido De Kiansas to tell the story of a dangerous cattle drive in Kansas, while Los Palomares Del Bravo recalls the legendary Puncho Villa in, La Tumba De Villa. Many songs, like Los Jilgueros Del Arroyo s bloody ballad, La Muerte De Fermín Arévalos, document the illegal trafficking of drugs and assassinations of rival drug lords. The music of these story songs is often happy and danceable, despite the grim subject matter.
The Devil's Swing was recorded as a companion for the film of the same name. This fresh recording, with its ballads and acoustic instruments, will probably evoke an earlier, simpler culture to many listeners. But the tales of drug smuggling disavow that. The lyrics also point out the continued uneasiness between Mexicans and Americans along the border. The Devil's Swing manages the twin tasks of documenting the life of a unique culture while remaining musically enjoyable.”
-Ronnie D. Lankford, Rootsworld