Catalina Maria Johnson

International radio broadcaster, bilingual cultural journalist, music curator


Since the times of the Mexican Revolution, we have sung corridos for our heroes, structuring epic ballads that document how everyday people, against all odds, emerge victorious in the struggle against oppression.

In Chicago, the corrido continues its proud tradition of sharing our stories. Late last year, in response to the 43 murdered student teachers murdered in Guerrero, Jose Luis Carrisoza (Alerta Zero’s keyboardist) and his father composed Ayotzinapa 43, a corrido crying out for justice for the missing students and their families.

As the mayoral elections draw near, Chicago artist, playwright, actress and singer Laura Crotte has now composed a corrido to celebrate the accomplishments of mayoral candidate Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. She comments that her concern about the critical state of education was the main reason that led her to become involved in supporting Garcia.

Crotte noticed that erroneous ideas regarding Garcia were emerging in the media, which described him as a “nobody” or a union “puppet” controlled by others. In response, she created a corrido that shares the story of Garcia’s humble beginnings in Durango as the child of a Mexican bracero, as well as richness of over three decades of accomplishments thanks to the profound knowledge of a city that he has served as Commissioner, Alderman and Community Organizer.

Crotte says she wanted to give the candidate the song as gift for the final stretch of the race, and invited Chicago musician and composer Zacbé Pichardo (a member of beloved local ensemble Sones de México) who accompanied her on the harp.

All corridos lay out their story within an established pattern that is often chronological, from beginning to end. This is one corrido many Latinos hope will soon have one last verse added, celebrating the hero’s most recent victory and how he became the mayor of this proud city of the big immigrant shoulders.


Check Catalina’s  show Beat Latino (on Facebook,  Itunes and online, airs Friday and Sunday on Vocalo) .


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