Ranchera is a genre of the traditional music of Mexico originally sung by only one performer with a guitar. It dates to the years of the Mexican Revolution in the early 20th century. It later became closely associated with the mariachi groups which evolved in Jalisco. Ranchera today is also played by norteño (or Conjunto) or banda. Drawing on rural traditional folk music, ranchera developed as a symbol of a new national consciousness in reaction to the aristocratic tastes of the period. Some well-known interpreters of the genre are the following Mexican singers: Amalia Mendoza, Antonio Aguilar, Cuco Sanchez, Flor Silvestre, Irma Serrano, Javier Solís, Jorge Negrete, José Alfredo Jiménez, Lola Beltrán, Lucha Villa, Pedro Infante, and Vicente Fernández.

Ranchera defined

Traditional rancheras are about love, patriotism or nature. Rhythms can have a metric in 2/4 (ranchera polkeada), 3/4 (ranchera valseada), or 4/4 (bolero ranchero) reflecting the tempo of, respectively, the polka, the waltz, and the bolero. Songs are usually in a major key, and consist of an instrumental introduction, verse and refrain, instrumental section repeating the verse, and another verse and refrain, with a tag ending. Instrumentation may include guitars, strings, trumpets, and/or accordions, depending on the type of ensemble being utilised. Besides the typical instrumentation, ranchera music, as well as many other forms of traditional Mexican music, is also noted for the grito mexicano, a yell that is done at musical interludes within a song, either by the musicians and/or the listening audience.

The normal musical pattern of rancheras is a/b/a/b. Rancheras usually begin with an instrumental introduction (a). The first lyrical portion then begins (b), with instrumental adornments interrupting the lines in between. The instruments then repeat the theme again, and then the lyrics may either be repeated or begin a new set of words. One also finds the form a/b/a/b/c/b used, in which the intro(a) is played, followed by the verse(b). This form is repeated, and then a refrain(c) is added, ending with the verse.

The most popular ranchera composers include Lucha Reyes, Cuco Sánchez, Antonio Aguilar, Juan Gabriel and José Alfredo Jiménez, who composed many of the best-known rancheras, with compositions totaling more than 1000 songs, making him one of the most prolific songwriters in the history of western music.

Another closely related style of music is the corrido, which is often played by the same ensembles that regularly play rancheras. The corrido, however, is apt to be an epic story about heroes and villains, whereas rancheras may not necessarily be heroic ballads, and also vary more in terms of tempo. However, two notable exceptions to this rule are the songs, 'Corrido de Chihuahua' and the 'Corrido de Monterrey', which are considered rancheras in spite of their names. Their lyrics are concerned with patriotism for the states of Chihuahua and Nuevo León, respectively.

The word ranchera was derived from the word rancho because the songs originated on the ranches and in the countryside of rural Mexico. Rancheras that have been adapted by conjuntos, or norteño bands from northern Mexico and the southwestern US, are sometimes called norteños, from the Spanish word for northern.

Some well-known rancheras

• Amanecí en tus brazos (I awoke in your arms), by José Alfredo Jiménez, Rocío Dúrcal, Javier Solís, Luis Miguel a.o.
• Amor eterno (Eternal Love), by Rocío Dúrcal
• Ay, Jalisco, no te rajes! (Hey, Jalisco, don't back down), by Jorge Negrete
• Camino de Guanajuato (Road to Guanajuato), by José Alfredo Jiménez and Pedro Fernández
• Carta a Eufemia (Letter to Eufemia), by Pedro Infante
• Cielito lindo (Lovely little Heaven), by Vicente Fernández and many others
• Cien años (One hundred years), by Pedro Infante
• Corazón, corazón (My heart, my heart), by Lola Beltrán and Lucha Villa
• Corrido de Chihuahua (The Chihuahua corrido), by Lucha Villa, Miguel Aceves Mejía and Antonio Aguilar
• Corrido de Monterrey (The Monterrey corrido), by David Zaizar, Lorenzo de Monteclaro and Vicente Fernández
• Costumbres (Customs), by Rocío Dúrcal
• Cuatro caminos (Four roads), by José Alfredo Jiménez and Lola Beltrán
• Cucurrucucú paloma (Cooing dove), by Lola Beltrán and Rocío Dúrcal
• De qué manera te olvido (How can I forget you), by Rocío Dúrcal, Vicente Fernández and others
• Echame a mí la culpa (Blame me), by José Ángel Espinoza, Javier Solís, Luis Miguel, Rocío Dúrcal and others
• El crucifijo de piedra (The stone crucifix), by Miguel Aceves Mejía
• Ella (She), by José Alfredo Jiménez, Pedro Fernández, Vicente Fernández and others
• El pastor (The shepherd), by Miguel Aceves Mejía
• El rey (The king), by José Alfredo Jiménez, Luis Miguel and Vicente Fernández
• El siete mares (The Seven Seas), by José Alfredo Jiménez
• La cruz de olvido (The cross of forgetfulness), by Juan Zaizar and Alvaro Torres
• La puerta negra (The black door), by Antonio Aguilar
• Media vuelta (Half Turn), by Javier Solís, Lucha Villa, Rocío Dúrcal and Luis Miguel
• México lindo y querido (Lovely and beloved Mexico), by Jorge Negrete, Alejandro Fernández
• Noches eternas (Eternal nights), by Vicente Fernández
• No me queda más (There's Nothing Left for Me), by Selena
• Pa' todo el año (For the whole year), by José Alfredo Jiménez, Pedro Fernández, Vicente Fernández a.o.
• Payaso (Clown), by Javier Solís
• Poco a poco (Little by little), by Javier Solís
• Por tu maldito amor (For your cursed love), by Vicente Fernández
• Por una mujer casada (For a married woman), by David Zaizar
• Si nos dejan (If they let us), by Rocío Dúrcal, José Alfredo Jiménez, Lola Beltrán, Vikki Carr, Luis Miguel and others
• Sombras (Shadows), by Javier Solís
• Tierra mala (Bad soil), by Irma Serrano
• Una limosna (An alm), by Flor Silvestre and Javier Solís
• Un puño de tierra (A handful of earth), by Antonio Aguilar
• Volver, volver (Come back, come back), by Vicente Fernández

(from the article Ranchera of Wikipedia)

Selected examples

Video A


Video B


Video C


Video D


Celebrated ranchera singers

Miguel Aceves Mejía
Antonio Aguilar
Pepe Aguilar
Lola Beltrán
Aida Cuevas
Yolanda Del Rio
Rocío Dúrcal
Alejandro Fernández
Pedro Fernández
Vicente Fernández
Pedro Infante
José Alfredo Jiménez
Lorenzo de Monteclaro
Jorge Negrete
Lucha Reyes
Cuco Sánchez
Flor Silvestre
Javier Solís
Chavela Vargas
Lucha Villa

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