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En busca del autor de "El contrabando de El Paso"

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The ballad (corrido) "El Contrabando de "El Paso," widely sung along the U.S. Mexican border since 1928, is now considered a classic of the genre. The narrative portrays the journey of a group of prisoners transferred from the city jail in El Paso, Texas, to the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas. Most of these convicts were serving sentences related to the violation of laws prohibiting the possession and sale of alcohol and narcotics. Speaking in first person, the narrative voice comments on the hardships endured by the prisoners and laments the misfortunes suffered by the smugglers. This study, following modern trends in the study of the corrido, accentuates the historical basis of the corrido, examines the circumstances surrounding the event—such as its date (August 7-9, 1924) and the names of the convicts—and suggests the identity of its most probable composer. The evidence presented—circumstantial and interpretative—points to a man named Gabriel Jara Franco as the likely candidate for its authorship. Particularly compelling is Jara's record at Leavenworth, which lists his substantial correspondence with Leonardo Sifuentes. Sifuentes was part of the Hernández y Sifuentes Duet, who, in 1928, recorded the first known version of "El Contrabando de El Paso."
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Language: Spanish

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 October 2005

More about this publication?
  • Aztlán presents original research that is relevant to or informed by the Chicano experience. An interdisciplinary, refereed journal, Aztlán focuses on scholarly essays in the humanities, social sciences, and arts, supplemented by thematic pieces in the dosier section, an artist's communiqué, a review section, and a commentary by the editor, Chon A. Noriega. Aztlán seeks ways to bring Chicano studies into critical dialogue with Latino, ethnic, American, and global studies.
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