06 November 2009
Popular Political Music
The idea of political music to English ears conjures up images of schoolteachers listening to some fat middle-aged bloke in a pullover. The notion that people living giro to giro on a council estate would ever listen to such drivel is risible in the extreme. However, the music of Mexico is both wildly popular within the country and highly political.
Take los Tigres del Norte as a case in point. This group are probably the most listened to in the country and the government has said that they cannot perform la Granja, their latest hit, at the National Auditorium when they play there later this month. The group - who are all multi-millionaires - have told the federales to go and take a running jump and have cancelled their concert.
La Granja -the farm - is Mexico and the rabid dog represents the drug dealers. The grandfather is the old dictatorship that allowed the dealers to operate, but under strict limits set by it. The fox is of course former President Vicente Fox who allowed the dog to break free, largely because he attacked it under American pressure. The pigs are the politicians who stuff themselves on the farm's corn, and the chickens are the press who do really very little.
Now, if the Mexicans can have a tradition of highly politicised popular music, why can't England? The Scots manage it, as this brutal attack on the country's former First Minister shows:
However, the Thornlie Boys are nowhere near as big in the land of the deep-fried Mars Bar as los Tigres are in Mexico, so the problem seems to be across the whole of Britain.
It may be that the Mexicans are just that little bit more politically sophisticated than their British counterparts, as they know how to tell when a politician is lying because he opens his mouth when he speaks. Thus attacks such as the one that los Tigres have mounted strike a popular chord. By way of contrast, far too many British people still believe in the man, and the man's tales for this form of popular contempt to be viable in Britain.