Mexican music and culture

By | April 9, 2021

songs and artists

One of the most famous Mexican songs is ‘La Bamba’, which dates back several centuries.
It was popularized in the United States in the 1950s by Richie Valens and then by Los Lobos in the 1980s. Sung entirely in Spanish, it became an international hit of both American acts. Other well-known standards embraced by many Latin artists in the last century include ‘Besame Mucho’, ‘Maria Bonita’ and ‘La Raspa’ more commonly known in the United States as the Mexican hat dance. Popular contemporary artists have included Luis Miguel, Ana Gabriel, Juan Gabriel and Paulina Rubio.

Traditional Mariachi

The dominant traditional music clip in Mexico is played by Mariachi bands, usually consisting of at least six members who began in the 19th century around Guadalajara and played mainly at weddings. Mariachi music has violins, guitars and trumpets. Today they play at festivals or at Mexican restaurants. It is also common for three-piece bands, called trios, to play these arenas. The lyrics of the Mariachi songs vary from personal to political and much of their sound is now known as the Ranchero style. Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan, formed in 1897, is considered the best.

Other musical genres

Mexican music has incorporated styles that originated in other countries from Latin America and Europe. Ranch music includes waltz and bolero and traces back to before the Mexican Revolution. It is closely associated with rural music. Band music, with brass and percussion highlights, was mainly influenced by the German and Czech immigrants who arrived in Mexico in the late 19th century. Music that originated elsewhere in South America has had a major impact on Mexican music and includes cumbia from Colombia, merengue from the Dominican Republic, salsa and mambo from Cuba and reggaeton from Panama. In recent decades, merengue and salsa have been very popular on the dance floor.

Radio format

Mexican radio formats grew dramatically in popularity in the 1990s and 2000s in the United States. The leading music format for the Latin American audience is ‘Regional Mexican.’ This format plays the more traditional Mexican genres such as banda, ranchera, mariachi and nortena. Other radio programs include romantica (love songs), Tejana (Tex Mex) and Tropical, which have salsa, merengue, cumbia and reggaeton. Tejano music centers on Latin artists from Texas whose music has a Louisiana cajun taste. Radio chains that specialize in Spanish-speaking programming include Univision and Entravision.

People and Traditions

Spanish is the dominant language in Mexico, but the government still recognizes more than 60 other Native American languages. About 90 percent of the citizens identify themselves as Roman Catholics, which the gospel was brought to Mexico by missionaries from Spain. While many Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo (May 5) as Mexico’s independence from Spain, on September 16, it’s Mexico that officially celebrates its independence. The Christmas weekend includes a series of festivities in December that begin on the 12th with a celebration honoring the Virgin of Guadalupe, Posadas, Christmas Eve and extending to January 6 with three Kings Day.


Many popular and traditional dances in Mexico involve couples playing in colorful costumes. A popular folk dance from Jalisco is jarabe. a flirtatious dance among couples where the man throws his sombrero to the ground and the female dances around her edges. One form of jarabe is the Mexican hat dance. Danza del Venado, also known as the devil’s dance, tells the story of a Yaqui Native American about a lone deer and its soul.


The cuisine of northern Mexico with its traditional ingredients of corn, beans, rice, tomatoes, chicken, beef and pork is very popular in United S tates and around the world. The most famous dishes such as tacos, burritos, enchiladas, tortillas, quesadillas, tostadas and tamales are just a small part of Mexican food. Original ingredients, techniques and sauces have been mixed with traditional food from Spain since the 16th century and since Mexico was briefly ruled by France in the 1860s, some dishes such as chiles have some French roots. Slightly carbonated fruit juices such as those marketed as Jarritos by Novamex are popular. Mexican traditions are the result of influences from Spain, which ruled Mexico for three centuries, and the myriad Native American cultures such as the ancient Aztecs and Mayans. Mexicans’ deep pride in their historical heritage and cultural traditions is especially evident in music and their celebration of family bonds. Mexican music has not become static and in the last century has mixed with American genres such as jazz, rock, hip hop and At the same time, Mexican music has been influenced by other Latin American countries.